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Lose Your Social Security Card? Here’s What to Do.

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Most people know which documents contain sensitive information and require special care. But do you know what to do if you lose your Social Security card, credit card or driver’s license? There are two concerns when you lose a card or document that contains sensitive information — retrieving it for your personal use and doing whatever you can to prevent identity theft that could result from the loss. Here’s a guide for getting through the loss of sensitive documents.

Social Security Card

Replacing your Social Security card isn’t difficult or expensive — the Social Security Administration allows you to receive three free replacements in a year or 10 in a lifetime. Completing an application and showing a photo ID will get you a new card. The real problem with losing your Social Security card is you can’t change your number, which is among the most useful tools for identity thieves. If your card is lost or stolen, the best thing you can do is closely monitor your accounts or enroll in an identity protection service.

Your best bet is to carry your Social Security card with you only when absolutely necessary and put it in a safe place the rest of the time. Here are a number of other tips to help you avoid Social Security fraud.

Credit Cards

As soon as you realize you might have lost a credit card, cancel, cancel, cancel. Find the customer service number for your bank or credit card company, cancel your current card and have a new one sent, which will almost always be free.

With quick reporting, you’ll likely be reimbursed for any charges made after it went missing. A new card will also feature a new number, eliminating the usefulness of an old card for thieves.

Driver’s License

Your driver’s license is another form of information that can be dangerous in the hands of identity thieves. If your license is lost or stolen, you should contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state immediately to report it.

Since even an invalid driver’s license can be useful for criminals, it’s prudent to closely monitor your accounts and credit report after losing your license. Your DMV can also help you get a new license and renewal fees vary by state.

This article was originally published on Identity Theft 911 blog.

Image: iStockphoto

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  • Ralph

    I recently learned someone obtained my ssn name dob and address. They opened a credit card under my and made a purchase. I filed a police report. I contacted the three credit bureaus. Trans union wanted twenty dollars a month. I thought they were free of charge. Can you tell me if I need to pay to have my credit line flagged.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If you file a police report the fraud freeze will be free.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I am not sure – will have to suggest you call Social Security. I know it can take weeks to get a replacement card. You may have to go to the office in person.

    • Israel

      I just lost my ss cad, employment card and driver’s licence card they was all together in my wallet, and I don’t know where to start from?

      • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

        Israel —
        Contact one of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, to get a fraud alert placed on your Social Security number, so that credit cannot be taken out in your name. Then you can go to your local Social Security office to get the card replaced. If your employment card was an employee ID, you would let your employer know what happened and get a replacement. If it was an authorization to work, you would contact the issuing agency. For a driver’s license, you also contact the issuing agency for a replacement. If you later discover that it is being used fraudulently for identification, you can request a new number. In the future, though, we urge you to go through your wallet and remove those things that you do not need to have there all the time. (Your Social Security car, for example, should not routinely be carried in your wallet.)

  • ily rabago

    I lost my ssn and I’m afraid if someone has obtained. What can I do before anything happens?

  • Miranda

    I recently lost my ssn and am afraid I will have identity theft! I am only 17 so what do I do?

  • Jeanine Skowronski

    Hi, Diontay,

    You are entitled to a free credit report for each bureau every year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can spread the requests out (one from each credit bureau every three months) to monitor over the course of the year. You can also see your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com. Sudden drops in scores (along with mysterious addresses and new lines of credit you didn’t open) can be a sign your identity has been compromised. You can also sign up for fraud alerts or elect to have a credit freeze with the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and Trans Union), though there are some fees associated with freezes.

    You can find more info about credit freezes here: https://www.credit.com/credit-reports/credit-freeze-legislation/

    You can find more info about obtaining free credit scores here: https://www.credit.com/credit-scores/#how-do-i-get-my-free-score

    You can find information about dealing with identity theft, should it happen here: https://www.credit.com/identity-theft-protection/#steps-to-take-if-its-been-stolen

    Thank you,


  • Jeanine Skowronski

    Hi, Diontay,

    You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and see your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com. You could also consider freezing your credit report to protect yourself from identity theft.

    Thank you,


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