New Social Security Card
Not knowing your social security number when you need it can be a huge problem.
You usually need your number during times of major life changes—situations that are already stressful—such as a new career, marriage, or the death of a loved one. If you have not memorized your SSN and cannot find your card you will have to apply for a new Social Security Card. If your Social Security Card is lost or stolen and falls into the wrong hands it could mean even bigger problems.
Protect your SSN carefully—a name and SSN together are worth more to a criminal than you might imagine. In many cases, only the SSN is required not the physical Social Security Card. You can avoid the risk of losing your Social Security Card by memorizing the number and keeping the card in a safe place.
You may need to present a Social Security Card to get a password or open a bank account, for instance. Be sure not carry your Social Security Card with you on a daily basis or enter your SSN on unscrupulous websites. New laws have made it more difficult for criminals to steal an identity with only a name and a SSN but this information is still a critical piece of personally identifiable information that should be carefully guarded.
If you are believe your SSN may have fallen into the wrong hands you can issue a fraud alert by contacting any of the three major credit score tracking services. Banks, lenders, and credit card companies with then go to extra lengths to ensure your identity when an account is opened in your name. Visit www.idtheft.gov for more information about preventing identity theft.
What is my Social Security Number?
If you lost your Social Security Number or need a new SSN card you can apply for free at any Social Security Administration card office. You can find the closest SSA office at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp. Obtaining a new SSN card is free but there are a couple limitations:
- You can receive no more than 3 new SSN cards per year
- You can receive no more than 10 SSN cards throughout your life
- Complete the http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf form
- Show at least two different documents that prove your:
- Identity, and
- U.S. Citizen of proof of immigration status.
Then take the completed application and original documents to an SSA office. Your new SSN card will then be mailed to you at a later date.
If you are searching for a loved one's SSN to either track down a missing person or find your ancestors performing a Social Security Death Index (SSDI) search may allow you to find their SSN and other information linked to the SSN. The SSDI, sometimes referred to as the Death Master File, contains records of every American with a Social Security Number who has died.