Ensuring your identity and all your personal information is secure is important to the Mission Possible team and we do all we can to keep it protected. There are specific protocols Social Security puts into place for us to follow. Additionally, there are some useful tools and tips for you to use to protect your identity as well. Some basic measures you can take include:
- not carrying your social security card with you.
- not giving your social security number out in public.
- an awareness to phishing scams.
- creating a my SSA account to help track your records.
There are more tips from SSA to protect your personal information: (Source: https://oig.ssa.gov/files/21-540_Protecting_Personal_Information.pdf)
- Always protect your Social Security number. Don’t carry your card in your wallet—and keep it in a safe place at home. Don’t give it out unnecessarily or accidentally.
- Never give out your personal information over the phone or in an email to someone who asks for it. Social Security may contact you, but they will have your information in their records and won’t ask for it.
- Understand that, generally, no government agency or reputable company will call you unexpectedly and request your personal information, or request fees for services in the form of wire transfers or gift cards.
- Shred any piece of paper that contains personal information such as your name, birth date, and Social Security number. Identity thieves look through trash for information.
- Regularly check your financial accounts for suspicious transactions.
- Request a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus every year. annualcreditreport.com.
- Install and maintain strong anti-virus software on all of your computing devices.
- Make your passwords complicated so others cannot easily access your accounts. Use sentences or phrases that you can easily recall.
- Never click on a link sent in an unsolicited email or text message—type in the web address yourself. Only provide information on secure websites you trust.
- Do not believe calls, emails, or texts saying you need to pay a fee to collect lottery winnings or to resolve an issue with the government. Stay up to date on current fraud scams at oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awareness.
Furthermore, if you suspect that you have become a victim of identity theft, you can:
- Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or through their website visit identitytheft.gov.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit record with one of the three credit bureaus:
- Equifax (1-866-349-5191)
- Experian (1-888-397-3742)
- TransUnion (1-800-680-7289)
- Contact your financial providers to flag irregular transactions.
- Check your Social Security earnings statement online to make sure your reported wages are correct. Visit socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
- Block electronic access to your Social Security accounts. https://secure.ssa.gov/acu/IPS_INTR/blockaccess.
Putting these tips into practice on a regular basis will help minimize identity theft. Knowing where to go for help is beneficial if you become a victim of identity theft. The Mission Possible team is also here to help if you have any questions.