Maybe you’re getting ready to sign the lease on a new apartment and you need to look up your Social Security number. Maybe your new employer wants to see your card. Or maybe you’re applying for a passport. You reach into your wallet and it’s not there. Maybe you know it’s not there because your wallet was stolen. Maybe it’s not there because you swore you put it there but…
It doesn’t really matter why or how — your Social Security card is gone. What do you do now?
I know that would be my first reaction, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best idea. If you can believe it, the steps you have to take when your Social Security card is lost or stolen aren’t as complicated as you might think.
Monitor your financial accounts closely
You should be doing this anyway, but you probably don’t. When there’s groceries to buy, kids to pick up at soccer practice, and a big client to bag at work, monitoring all of your financial accounts on a daily or weekly basis just isn’t gonna happen. I get it.
But… If you’re missing your Social Security card, you must take the time to keep tabs on your accounts. Check your bank account on a nearly daily basis. Keep an eye on your credit card balances. Make sure your money is going exactly where it should.
Don’t forget about new accounts opened in your name using your Social Security number! Request your credit scores as frequently as you can without negatively affecting your score.
Of course, if you have an identity theft protection plan, you won’t have to follow your accounts quite as closely. That’s their job! If you’re looking for ID theft protection, click here to learn about our top picks.
Don’t want to keep close tabs on your credit score? Don’t want to pay for an ID theft protection plan? Your options haven’t been exhausted yet! Simply call each of the three credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your account. If a new line of credit is opened under your name, they’ll let you know.
You can contact the three credit bureaus at these numbers:
- Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Replace your Social Security card as quickly as possible
Nervous about replacing your social security card? I don’t blame you. Government agencies are known for long lines and poor service. You know exactly what I’m talking about if you’ve ever spent an entire afternoon at the DMV just to renew your license.
Fortunately, the same thing isn’t usually true when it comes to replacing your Social Security card. As a matter of fact, you may be able to request a replacement card without leaving the comfort of your home! All you have to do is go online.
Even if you can’t apply for a replacement card online, the process isn’t too excruciating. All you have to do is fill out the necessary paperwork. Then, either mail it in or bring it into your local Social Security office. To learn more about the process of replacing your card, click here.
The best part about replacing your Social Security card? It’s free!
Be proactive in the future
It’s common knowledge that you should carry your license around with you at all times. If you’re traveling, you must keep your passport with you at all times. Certainly that means you should have your Social Security card with you at all times.
The Social Security Administration recommends that you keep your Social Security card with other important documents. Not in your purse. Not in your wallet. As a matter of fact, if you’re traveling, leave it at home.
Social Security cards are most likely to be lost or stolen when they’re in a wallet. When you get your replacement card, be proactive and leave it at home somewhere safe. That way you won’t ever have to worry about your card going missing again.