How to Change your Social Security Number & Get a New Credit File Legally

Sometimes credit report data can be a reason for getting a new SSN.
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It's possible to get a new Social Security number, but only if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you get a new number you will get a new credit file, but some of your old information may continue to follow you in the form of records kept by the government or other agencies. To get a new number you have to apply to the Social Security Administration and give them your reasons. The SSA ultimately decides whether or not to give you a new number.

Who Can Apply

The Social Security Administration will accept your application for a new SSN if you can prove that someone is using the number. You must also be able to show that you are suffering as a result. You are not allowed to get a new SSN to try to avoid any legal responsibilities such as warrants, debts or the consequences of bankruptcy. The Social Security Administration also does not allow you to get a new number if your card has been lost or stolen, but there's nothing to show that the number is being used. Signs that someone is using your number include bills you don't recognize or calls from unknown creditors.

How to Apply

You must apply for a new Social Security number the same way you would apply for an original number. Fill out the application for an SSN, form SS-5 from the Social Security Administration, and present it together with the appropriate documentation to the Social Security office nearest your home. You can take the application and documents to the office or mail them, whichever you prefer. Call 1-800-772-1213 to get the mailing address or physical location of the office closest to you. The Social Security Administration requires proof of your identity, your age, and your citizenship or immigration status. You must provide either the original documents or certified copies as proof. Never mail the originals. There is no cost for the application or the new number.

Required Documentation

To prove your identity, submit a valid passport, a U.S. driver's license or a state identity card. Prove your age with a certified copy of your birth certificate or your passport. The Social Security Administration will accept your birth certificate as proof of citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen you'll need to provide the documents allowing you to be in the country legally, such as your Permanent Resident Card, often called your "green card."

Other Needed Evidence

You must not only tell the Social Security Administration that you need a new Social Security number, you must be able to prove it is necessary. According to the Federal Trade Commission's website, you will need to document the fact that your SSN is not only being misused but also that it is causing you "significant continuing harm." Evidence will vary depending on your circumstances. Documents you might use include credit reports with charges you didn't make, bills you don't owe, or medical records for a condition you don't have.

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