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Social Security Card Replacement: Lost or Stolen

Do you need to replace your social security card? Maybe you’ve misplaced it or had it stolen? We’ve got your covered with this article and you should know everything you need to get a new card by the end of this article.

One of the most critical documents you have is your social security card. As such you have to take immediate steps to replace it when it gets lost or stolen. Criminals can use it to commit identity fraud in your name, which can completely mess up your life. Sometimes these criminals only need your SSN and address to access critical financial information. They may also use it to take out loans in your name and wreck your credit history.

The good news is it costs nothing to get a replacement card. However, there are a few limits you should know about. You can get a maximum of three (3) replacement cards in one calendar year, and a lifetime limit of ten (10) replacements. There are some exceptions that do not affect these limits, such as when you make a name change and when you need to update your card due to a change in your immigration status.

The first step to take after noticing you’ve lost or had your card stolen is to act quickly to protect your social security information {i}.

The following steps should be followed to secure your card info and get a new card.

What Should You do After Your Card is Lost or Stolen?

Step 1: Protect Yourself Against Fraud

Report your situation to one of the three major credit-reporting agencies ( Experian, Equifax, or Transunion). You don’t need to report to all of them – just one is enough. They’ll place a 90-day alert that will alert any credit-issuing body to dig deeper to confirm your identity before issuing any credit in your name. You can request a renewal of the 90-day alert if necessary. Find the phone number for each agency below:

Experian: (888) 397-3742
Equifax: (800) 525-6285
Transunion: (800) 680-7289

Step 2: Obtain a Copy of Your Credit Report for Reference

This is purely so you can monitor any fraudulent credit activities. The report should be obtained immediately after your card is lost or stolen so you’ll have a reference point to check for any subsequent activities that may be fraudulent. You can obtain a new report every subsequent month to keep tabs on all credit activities in your name or sign up to a credit monitoring service to receive automated alerts about any activity involving your Social Security Number.

Step 3: File a Report with the IRS

This is a crucial step that protects you against criminals filing fraudulent tax returns using your identity. Not filing a report with the IRS can leave you liable for any such activities using your stolen information. Call 1-800-908-4490 or visit https://www.irs.gov/uac/identity-protection to file a report immediately.

Step 4: File a Report with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).

This also helps protect yourself against any fraudulent filings using your stolen identity. This just creates another layer of evidence should you need to defend yourself in the future against any identity theft crimes with the FTC that involves your details. Call 1-877-IDTHEFT or visit https://www.idtheft.gov for more details.

Step 5: Contact Your Local Authorities

Contact local authorities like the police to file a report, creating further layers of evidence that your card was lost or stolen should you need to defend yourself against identity crimes committed using your details. A police report is a valuable document should you need to clear your name down the line.

Finally, you should file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) if you detect any fraudulent activity involving the use of your stolen information. They will send your report to the relevant authorities. For more details on what to do if you are a victim of identity theft crimes, go to this FTC website.

Steps to Apply for a Replacement Social Security Card

After taking immediate measures to protect yourself against identity theft crimes, it is time to get a new card to replace your stolen one.

Although it is free to get a new card, it can be a daunting experience if you don’t know what to do. We will do our best to guide you through the different ways you can apply for a social security card replacement.

1st Method: Apply in Person at The Nearest Social Security Office

It might seem like a headache to drive all the way to the office to apply for a replacement card, however, it is the best way to go. You get to avoid sending your sensitive details over the internet where it could be intercepted by malware. You also avoid having to mail your documents because they’ll only make copies of your documents in the office and hand you back the originals.

Finally, an in-person application for a replacement card gives you the peace of mind in knowing that a person has received your documents rather than wondering if they have been delivered safely or not.

Follow the steps below to submit an application for a social security card replacement in person.

Step 1

Visit the link below to print an official SSA application form and fill it with your details. You have to enter your social security number so it is important that you know it.

Get Application Form

Step 2

Prepare for your trip to the Social Security office near you by making sure you have all the necessary documents. You can call the office to find out the exact documents you need to bring with you. We have provided a list of the most common documents in the link below. Click the link below to view them.

See List of Documents

Step 3

We have a list of every Social Security office in our directory to help you locate the office closest to you. Find the SSA office closest to you by browsing through our list or using the search feature on our pages. Click the link below to find an office close to you. Call the office to find out if they process applications and schedule an appointment. Visit the office to submit your application and wait for the process to run its course.

Find SSA Offices Near Your

2nd Method

You can also fill and submit your application online. This is the most convenient and fastest method but you face the danger of hackers getting hold of your sensitive details if your computer is infected with malware. Follow the steps below to apply for a replacement card online.

Step 1

You need to already have a social security account online {i} with ssa.gov or create a new account with them. You can click on the link below to be redirected to the SSA website to create an account if you don’t have one. You can then apply for a social security card replacement after you’ve successfully created your account.

Click to Create SSA Account

Step 2

Log in to your account and follow the “my Social Security” link in your account to complete and submit your application for a new card.

3rd Method: Application by Traditional Mail

You can also fill the application form and mail it along with your documents to the Social Security Administration. Though it is more convenient than driving to an SSA office, you will have to mail your original documents along with the application because they don’t accept photocopies for mail-in applications.

Follow the steps listed under "Method 1" above but instead of submitting the application in person, place the application and all original supporting documents in an envelope and mail it to your local social security office. Click here to find the address of an office close to you.

Some Things to Know About Applying for a Social Security Card Replacement

You’ll typically get your new card within 10 business days of making your application. In the meantime, you may request a temporary social security card to be printed at the SSA office closest to you. You have to prove with documentation that you’re a citizen of the United States and have a document to prove your identity to obtain a replacement Social Security card.

All documents must be originals or certified copies from the issuing authority (example DMV for driver licenses). You can’t submit photocopies (notarized or not) to the SSA because they’ll be rejected. The SSA requires you to submit a minimum of two documents even though they may use one document to verify citizenship and identification (such as your passport).

Getting a New Number

You can apply for a replacement card with the same SSN as your old card or you can apply for a new card with a new SSN. You may need a new SSN if you’re a victim of identity theft but you don’t need a new number if you’ve merely misplaced your card.

It is a difficult process to go through to get a new number so you should only apply for one if you absolutely must. You will have to prove that you are a victim of identity theft and that it is adversely affecting your credit rating and making it impossible for you to get new credit.

Getting a new number doesn’t mean that your issues are over. You still need to follow the steps we mentioned earlier to protect your old number and prevent further identity theft crimes with that number.

In addition, your credit history will start from scratch so you’ll have to build it back up. This is another reason to only apply for a new number only if it is necessary.

There’s no guarantee that the SSA will approve your application for a new number even if you believe you’ve met the requirements for a new number. The SSA has the final say.

Please note that applications for a new Social Security Number must be submitted in person at your local SSA office.

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