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ITRC Solution 11

When you want to change your Social Security Number (SSN) with the Social Security Administration (SSA) you will need to formally request a new SSN to be assigned. A lot of serious thought needs to go into the consideration of requesting a new number. The SSA requires “substantial abuse” of a SSN to approve changing that number.

Changing your SSN may stop someone from doing considerable damage to your credit, but it also might make your life more difficult. In some cases, you may even need to change your name so that you completely separate yourself from the imposter when background checks are done. This is a legal step and should be done just before the new number is issued. For women: if you are getting married, change the SSN just after the marriage. This helps to ensure the new SSN is in your married name only and never was connected to the old SSN.

Before taking this step, talk with a victim advisor at ITRC to find out about other options, such as a credit freeze.

Please remember that just because you have changed your SSN does not mean that is the end of all of your problems. There are many steps in creating a new identity. You may never link back to the old SSN. The only two places that will have it linked are the IRS and SSA, and that information will never be given out to anyone. That means that all lines of credit, student loans, mortgages, professional licenses, college transcripts and other items must have a NEW number put on the paperwork and the OLD number removed. Both numbers CANNOT be in any document. You may be leaving behind work history and references, lines of credit and find yourself starting life again with the financial history of an 18 year old.

Social Security Administration

  • Check your work history (Form 7050) from the Social Security Administration. Have a corrected work history transferred from your old SSN file to your new SSN file.
  • Have the SSA flag your old file and note that anyone using the old number is an imposter. Please understand the old number will never be taken out of the system, it will always be present.
  • Ask for a letter from the SSA explaining they have issued you a new SSN. This letter should state you will no longer be using the old number and only the new number will be valid. This letter is important when changing personal, pertinent documents (i.e. transcripts) and/or accounts (financial) over to the newly issued number.

Drivers License

We recommend you get a new driver’s license number with your new SSN. This would be done through the state driver’s license issuing bureau. You will be required to bring in verifying documents of your identity, including your birth certificate, the new Social Security card and the letter from the SSA.

The Credit Reporting Agencies

When you change your information, it affects the records of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).

There are two ways of establishing a “new credit identity.” One is to leave all of your credit behind. This would mean closing out all of your old lines of credit including credit cards, car loans, mortgages and student loans. This can only be done if each is paid in full. If money is owed, then you may need to close one loan and open another with the new SSN to continue the line of credit. However, if you leave all your credit lines behind, it might create suspicion. It will be suspicious to credit issuers that someone who is 30 or 40 years old has no credit history.

The second is to work with your creditors. First, place a freeze on the old SSN with the 3 CRAs. That will help stop financial identity theft with the old number. Then, ask your creditors to open new lines of credit, transferring owed balances to a new account. Have the companies report the new information under your new SSN, thus starting new credit reports. This does, however, require you to go through all of the companies you have had credit within the last seven years and change the information they are reporting.

We recommend if you had good standing with your creditors and utility companies that you get a letter from them when closing these accounts, stating your good standing.

Additional Items to Change

  • Auto loans/pink slip
  • Home loans/deeds
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Investments Accounts
  • Telephone Service Account
  • Life Insurance
  • Auto Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Checking Accounts
  • Health Insurance
  • Cell Phone Accounts
  • Gas and Electric Accounts
  • College Transcripts
  • Degrees
  • Technical Licenses


This solution sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to