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Social Security

What if My Credit Report Shows an Incorrect Social Security Number?

Dear Experian,

My Social Security number is incorrect on my credit report. How can I get this fixed?

- BWR

Dear BWR,

While an incorrect Social Security number (SSN) on your report could be a sign of fraud, usually it is simply the result of a typographical error or a misread credit application form.

To help protect you from identity theft, Experian does not list your actual SSN on your personal credit report. Experian does, however, list all incorrect SSNs reported as belonging to you.

Unrecognized Social Security Number Could Indicate Fraud

The variations are listed because they alert you to take action if they are the result of an attempt at credit fraud. And, if they are a typographical error, seeing them listed lets you know that you may need to contact your lenders to have the number corrected in their records. This is one example of why it's beneficial to check your credit report regularly.

Review your credit report carefully to see if there are other indicators of fraud in addition to any unrecognized SSNs—such as unfamiliar names or addresses or accounts you never opened.

How to Resolve Social Security Number Variations

If, after reviewing the report, you believe the variations are due to credit fraud, you should contact Experian to notify us and to dispute the information. You can also visit our Fraud Center to learn how to respond to fraud and protect your credit information.

If the variation does not seem to be the result of fraud, simply contact the creditor that reported the variation and ask them to correct their records. After the creditor updates its records, the new information will be reported to Experian and your credit report will be updated.

If you are unsure as to which of your creditors reported the variation, you can call the toll-free telephone number provided on your credit report for additional assistance. If the variation is not associated with one of your accounts, Experian can delete it upon your request.

Protecting Yourself Against Fraud

Although SSN variations are not typically the result of identity theft or fraud, it's always good to be aware of any changes in your credit report. Checking your credit report frequently or signing up for Experian's free credit monitoring service can help you catch signs of fraud earlier so you can act quickly to minimize any damage. Here are some other tips for preventing credit fraud:

  • Don't keep your Social Security card or number in your wallet or car.
  • If your wallet is lost or stolen, contact your credit card issuers immediately to let them know your cards are missing.
  • Shred any documents containing your personal information.
  • Always use a secure connection when shopping online. Check for "https" in the URL. The "s" means the website is secure.
  • Don't check your bank account using public Wi-Fi.
  • Create strong, unique passwords for every account. A secure password manager can help you keep track of them.
  • Beware of scammers and take steps to avoid them. For example, if a business calls you and requests personal information, let them know you will hang up and call them back. By initiating the call using their publicly listed phone number or the customer service number on your billing statement, you can be sure you're talking to the real deal.
  • Be mindful of shoulder surfers. Don't let anyone look over your shoulder while entering passwords or PINs.

Thanks for asking.
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist

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