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Avoiding Identity Theft

Sept. 25, 2006 (CA). The Social Security Administration is firm in its warning that the public must leave their Social Security and Medicare cards at home. These cards when stolen make identity theft easier to occur.

      The need to show a Social Security card is necessary only for new employers to verify the eligibility of a newly hired employee to work in the United States. Apart from this, the card has no other urgent use that it needs to be brought on a daily basis. 
      The SSA advises the public that they must be careful about the information that is carried on their Social Security card. Their Social Security number is a gateway to financial data. Thus, as much as possible it must be left at home. It is also recommended that bills, checks and other papers and cards reflecting information on one’s Social Security, bank or credit card numbers be disposed of and destroyed.
      Finally, if you have been a victim of identity theft or have knowledge of an occurrence thereof, one must report such incident at the soonest time possible to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The Social Security Administration considers reports of fraud very seriously. The Office of the Inspector General investigates instances of Social Security-related fraud and program abuse. You may report instances of potential fraud directly to OIG by one of the following methods:

• call toll-free:  1-800-269-0271
• write to:  Social Security Administration OIG Hotline
  P.O. Box 17768
  Baltimore, Maryland 21235

      Be sure to include as much of the following information as you can:

• Name, address, telephone number, and Social Security Number (SSN) of the person suspected of fraud. If the SSN is unknown, include as much identifying information as possible, e.g., the individual's date and place of birth, father's name, and mother's birth name;
• A complete description of the potential fraud incident as well as  your name, address, and telephone number. 


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