Identity thieves in Pennsylvania steal all types of personal data, but they covet Social Security numbers the most. This is because, in most cases, Social Security numbers do not change. Pennsylvania consumers can easily get new credit card and bank account numbers. However, there is a good chance that your Social Security number (SSN) will remain the same for life. So, when fraudsters steal Social Security numbers, they can hold onto them for years before committing identity theft. Identity thieves operating in Pennsylvania can also do more harm with Social Security numbers than with any other data. In fact, armed with your SSN, a scammer can create new credit card accounts in your name, take out loans, seek medical care, and commit tax fraud.
This is one of the reasons why the recent Equifax breach cause so much panic. Along with other information, the massive hack exposed the Social Security numbers of about 5 million Pennsylvanians. However, even if you were affected by the breach, you shouldn’t give up on staying safe. After all, there are plenty of scammers out there who don’t have access to the stolen Equifax data. So, continue keep your Social Security card and number as safe as possible. After all, for all intents and purposes, those nine digits are the key to your identity.
What Pennsylvania Identity Thieves Can do With Stolen Social Security Numbers
Here are some of the ways in which fraudsters commit identity theft in Pennsylvania with stolen Social Security Numbers.
They open new credit accounts and take out loans.
In Pennsylvania and throughout the country, this is the most popular version of identity theft. Here, fraudsters use your stolen Social Security number to take out loans or credit cards in your name. Then, they bank the loaned money and rack up charges on the credit cards. Of course, when the bills come, they don’t pay them. This is how victims of identity theft end up with negative information on their credit reports and damaged credit scores.
They get medical care and insurance benefits.
Some scammers use stolen SSNs to pay for medical treatments with other peoples’ insurance coverage. This causes two types of problems for Pennsylvania identity theft victims. First, it causes confusion with medical records. Then, if thieves poach your medical insurance benefits, you may not have access to them when you need them.
They file fraudulent tax returns and steal refunds.
Financial experts urge consumers in Pennsylvania and other states to start filing their tax returns as early as possible in the wake of the Equifax breach. Unfortunately, if they have your SSN, an identity thief can file your taxes in your name and collect your refund. In 2016, the IRS reported that $227 million was lost in fraudulent tax returns. And, remember, this was before the Equifax hack.
They sign up for unemployment or Social Security benefits.
If scammers sign up for these benefits with your SSN, the crime may go undetected for years. However, you might discover that these resources are depleted if and when you need them. It is possible, of course that you could expose the fraud and claim reimbursement. Yet, it could take months to complete the necessary process.
How Pennsylvania Consumers Can Recover their Credit Reports After Identity Theft
Now, more than ever, Pennsylvania consumers seek measures to protect themselves against identity theft. Some individuals have opted for credit freezes and locks. Others have signed up for credit monitoring services and fraud alerts. These are all positive actions. Yet, even if you don’t do any of these things, you should at least keep tabs on your information.
All Pennsylvania residents should regularly check their bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity. You should also look over your credit reports at least once every twelve months. After all, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to annual free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. To claim yours, just go to www.annualcreditreport.com and request copies of your credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
If, while reviewing your credit reports, you spot fraudulent accounts and bogus transactions, file a police report immediately. You will need a copy of this police report in order to fully recover your credit reports and save your credit score. Next, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Pennsylvania.
We know that fixing your credit reports after identity theft is often difficult if you do it on your own. That’s why our firm will provide you with an experienced credit attorney to handle the entire process. Just give us a call or fill out the contact form on our website, and we’ll get you clean credit reports – for free.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit in Pennsylvania After Identity Theft
Don’t let identity theft damage bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (856) 912-3511 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/pennsylvania/fix-identity-theft/.