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Is your Social Security
number at risk?

In the age of the Dark Web, it can be difficult to know if your Social
Security number is at risk. But there are simple steps you can take to
get notified if your SSN is found on the Dark Web.
Your nine-digit Social Security number wields a remarkable amount of power over your financial well-being. It’s how you access credit and open bank accounts. It’s what allows you to apply for government benefits and private insurance, purchase a home, get a job — and more.

The problem

Because your Social Security number can unlock a ton of private and valuable information, it can be an enticing target for scammers.

The financial cost of a compromised Social Security number can be profound. If someone gets a hold of your Social Security number, “they can make unauthorized withdrawals, purchases, and transfers. They can get government documents. They can get a cell phone in your name that you could receive bills for,” said Nicholas Ibello, a certified financial planner and vice president of wealth management with Williams Asset Management in Maryland.

GUESS WHAT

To date, over different Social Security numbers have been issued.1

To date, over

different Social Security numbers have been issued.1

To date, over different

Social Security numbers have been issued.1

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How theft happens

Thieves often target Social Security numbers by hacking unsecured websites or via phishing.

No matter how Social Security numbers are obtained, they often end up in the same place: Dark Web sites, a layer of the internet that cannot be seen through normal browsers due to multiple layers of encryption. And the sheer amount of illegal data available to cybercriminals on the dark web is staggering.

GUESS WHAT

Reports suggest that Social Security numbers cost as little as $ on Dark Web sites, so cybercriminals often steal millions of records at a time.2

Reports suggest that Social Security numbers cost as little as

$on Dark Web

Sites, so cybercriminals often steal millions of records at a time.2

Reports suggest that Social Security numbers cost

as little as $on Dark Web

Sites, so cybercriminals often steal millions of records at a time.2

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Steps you can take

Although this rise in Social Security number theft3 is certainly cause for concern, there are some simple steps you can take to help monitor your credit, keep your information safe and get notified about potential fraud:

Regularly monitor your credit score, so that you’re never in a situation where someone has spent months tarnishing your credit without you knowing.

Use a password manager that stores encrypted passwords for everything you do online, from shopping to banking.

Utilize a free service, such as Discover Social Security alerts, a free benefit for all card members that once activated alerts you if your Social Security number is found on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.*

Regularly monitor your credit score, so that you’re never in a situation where someone has spent months tarnishing your credit without you knowing.

Use a password manager that stores encrypted passwords for everything you do online, from shopping to banking.

Utilize a free service, such as Discover Social Security alerts, a free benefit for all card members that once activated alerts you if your Social Security number is found on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.*

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It can be challenging to stay on top of what is happening on Dark Web sites, which is why Discover offers a free service for card members that once activated alerts you if your Social Security number is found on any thousands of Dark Web sites. The company will also monitor your Experian credit report daily once activated, and notify you if anyone pulls your credit, or if new credit cards, mortgages, car loans or other credit accounts are listed in your name — even changes not related to your Discover account.*

GUESS WHAT

Consumers filed more than fraud reports in 2020.4

Consumers filed

more thanfraud

reports in 2020.4

Consumers filed more than

fraud reports in 2020.4

HELP PROTECT YOURSELF
WITH DISCOVER SOCIAL
SECURITY NUMBER ALERTS

If you’re a Discover cardmember, activate your free Social Security number alerts. You’ll get an alert if Discover finds your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.*

If you suspect you are a victim of potential fraud, agents can help you figure out what to do next.

Once activated, Discover will also monitor your Experian credit report every day and alert you if anyone pulls your credit, or if any new credit card, mortgage, car loan or other account shows up.*

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Recovering from fraud

While having your Social Security number stolen can be costly, there are steps you can take to fight back.

The FTC has a website dedicated to helping people report and recover from identity theft, and the Internal Revenue Service also offers immediate first steps.

But taking proactive steps — like activating Discover's Social Security number alerts — is one thing you can do for your overall financial wellbeing.

“Having that focus on preventive measures before something happens needs to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Ibello said.

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