Could Changing Your Social Security Number Protect You From Equifax-Related Fraud?
Perhaps, but it's not a simple process, and you have to meet certain requirements
Thieves got a goldmine of data when they stole 143 million Social Security numbers—along with names, addresses, and birth dates—belonging to Equifax customers. With it, they can steal property, money, get access to medical records, file fake tax returns, and wreak other havoc.
You might think an obvious way to protect yourself would be to change your Social Security number. But while you can easily change passwords, freeze accounts, and take other steps to keep your personal data secure, changing your Social Security number is complicated and not something anyone can do.
To make a change, you need a valid reason. Being a victim of identify fraud is an acceptable one, but you will have to submit proof that your current number is being misued and that the problem is an ongoing hardship.
If you think you qualify for a new number, you'll need to keep records of anything that seems to indicate trouble, such as an IRS letter questioning you about income not reported, records of your frustrating battle to correct credit reports, or a letter denying you a mortgage because of erroneous information. If an identity thief filed a false tax return to steal your refund, that will certainly help your case.
If you have that information, you can get started by applying in person at a Social Security office. You'll need to complete the free application for an original Social Security card (Form SS-5). Here, you'll have to document the reason you need a new number, explaining how the old one has been compromised and how you have suffered.
You’ll also need to prove your citizenship and identity with a valid drivers license or a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or other acceptable document.