How can I find out if someone else has used my social security number without my permission?
As a rule, it is a good idea to get a copy of your credit report at least once a year. Your credit report will show what accounts have been opened with your name and social security number. You should request a report from each of the main reporting agencies. To request copies of your credit report from each agency call:
Trans Union 800-916-8800
If you have not attempted to obtain credit in the last sixty days, these agencies may charge you a small fee for your credit report. However, you can also obtain a free report in a twelve month period if: 1) You are unemployed and will be seeking employment in the next sixty days; 2) You are on public welfare assistance; or 3) You suspect your report has inaccurate information due to fraud. Even if none of these situations apply, the credit-reporting agency cannot charge you more than $8 for your report. Once you get your report, look for any accounts that you have not opened and any charges that you have not authorized.
What do I do if I find out that someone is using my identity?
You should immediately contact the above agencies and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. You should also contact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271. If you are concerned that someone is using your identity, you should also contact other agencies, like the State Department of Motor Vehicles, to see if a license has been issued in your name. Finally you should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by contacting their Identity Theft Hotline by telephone at 877-IDTHEFT, TDD: 202-326-2502. You can also contact the FTC by mail at: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20580-0001. You can also complain online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.