Your social security card is more valuable to a thief than the cash in your wallet. This vital document represents your identity, credit rating, and many other essential services. If you have been targeted for identity theft or any fraudulent activity, having access to your social security number is the key to a successful scam.

There are measures you can take to ensure your stolen card is useless to a thief or con artist. Even if you are unsure whether a theft has taken place, it is better to implement security steps immediately rather than have a “wait and see” attitude. Many people have been caught by thinking that a lost card will turn up eventually when, in fact, the card has been deliberately stolen.

Take Immediate Action

The first thing to do if you suspect or definitely know your social security card has been stolen is to contact the nearest police station. Taking the time to go in person to the station and file a report is proactive in two ways. First, you will have proof that you are a possible fraud victim. Second, you will learn about what other measures to take from the police officer handling your case.

The next step to protect yourself is to contact one of the three biggest credit bureaus. Once one big credit bureau knows your security details have been compromised, they will send a notification of potential fraud alert to all the other bureaus. This means that no one can open an account in your name.

Letting the IRS know that your SSN is no longer private should be next on your list to protect yourself after your card is stolen. There is a flourishing market for stolen social security numbers. They are used by con artists to obtain jobs. When the IRS has been alerted, the institution will be on the look-out for anyone trying to make a benefits claim in your name as well.

Protect Your Identity and Finances

Before you begin the process of replacing your card with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you should contact the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is there to assist in cases of online identity theft. This is important because crime can happen in two spheres of your life: the internet and the real world— both are devastating.

Replacing a stolen social security card is a long and complex process. Knowing what to do if your card is stolen is relatively easy. It’s replacing it that’s hard. This is often the reason why people delay doing it.

Dealing with the bureaucracy and massively detailed forms is intimidating and sometimes frustrating. The process has the theft victim’s best interests at heart. However, finding the right social security office branch, filling in the forms correctly, and submitting the proper documentation is quite an ordeal. The biggest drawback is that the SSA provides no one-on-one support or guidance.

Fortunately, there is another option. In a fast-paced world where victims of theft do not have the time to deal with SSA queues and forms, they are choosing to use replacement social security card application services.

Social security application services help break down the jargon on forms into manageable sections, making it easier to fill in. You are informed what documents will be required. Expertly trained application specialists will be with you every step of the way throughout the process.

Ensure that you get your replacement application right the first time. You can then go on with your life safe in the knowledge that your details and forms are being processed quickly and correctly.