Q: I applied for a replacement Social Security card last week but have not received it. When should I expect to receive my new card?
A: It takes approximately 10 to 14 days to receive your replacement Social Security card. We're working harder than ever to protect you, prevent identity theft, and ensure the integrity of your Social Security number. To do that, we have to verify documents you present as proof of identity. In some cases, we must verify the documents before we can issue the card. For more information about your Social Security card and number, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Q: What can I do if I think someone has stolen my identity?
A: You should do several things, including:
File a report with the local police or the police department where the identity theft took place, and keep a copy of the police report as proof of the crime;
Notify the Federal Trade Commission, (877) 438-4338 or www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft;
File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov; and
Contact the fraud units of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax (800) 525-6285 or www.equifax.com; Trans Union: (800) 680-7289 or www.transunion.com and Experian: (888) 397-3742 or www.experian.com.
If your Social Security card has been stolen, you can apply for a replacement card. But you usually don't need a new card as long as you know your number.
To protect yourself in the future, treat your Social Security number as confidential and avoid giving it out. Keep your Social Security card in a safe place with your other important papers. Do not carry it with you. Learn more by reading our publication, Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10064.html.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, call Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.