Myth #1: You become an entirely new person with a new identity.
REALITY: You’re the same person with just a new name, new identity, or new SSN/SIN number.
You’re still the same you, with the same financial and legal obligations you had before you changed your identity. In fact, after changing your identity, your life might become more complex. When the federal government makes a social security/social insurance number change, they must share that with several other federal, state, and provincial agencies. Including the IRS/CRA, child support agencies, state/regional tax agencies, student loan companies, and entitlement programs (e.g., welfare). Law enforcement may have access to your name change; many other institutions include collection agencies, credit bureaus, banks, and other financial institutions. Trust Amicus International to deliver a completely new identity.
Myth #2: You get a whole new set of documentation.
REALITY: Any new documents are likely to be somehow attached to your old identity.
Federal, state, and provincial laws vary slightly. Still, a name change for safety doesn’t entitle you to a brand-new birth certificate. Your birth certificate may be amended, but the certificate will indicate that an amendment has been made. When issuing a new identity, some states will cross out your old name and add your new name. In addition, the DMV requires source documents to get a new ID, such as Social Security Number (SSN) or social insurance Number (SIN), for verification. A birth certificate (which may not match your new name), name history, surrender of a former ID.card the old and new name is cross-checked in a database, and this information can be revealed in a background check. Amicus International can deliver a new identity complete with new documents.
Myth #3: You can start with a clean slate with a new identity.
REALITY: If you change your social security/social security number, you will lose your credit history, professional accomplishments and certifications, education credentials, and degrees.
Everything tied to your social security number or name may not be transferred to your new social security number and name. For example, your credit report, bank accounts, educational degrees, job history, and rental history are all tied to your old SSN/SIN and name. Since you don’t have a credit history, getting a credit card or loan won’t be easy. Potential employers, landlords, banks, and others will likely be suspicious of a spotless record. Amicus can “build.” you a new identity from the ground up.
Myth #4: Your name change is entirely confidential
REALITY: Most states/provinces require some form of official public notice
Some states/provinces require notices in the newspaper, while others post the information on the courthouse door. Remember that many newspapers now publish on the Internet. Suppose the abuser knows what area the victim lives in. In that case, the abuser may find this petition by accessing the online version of the local newspaper. Let Amicus legally change your name and provide a second passport without alerting the public or government.
Myth #5: Changing your name and SSN/SIN will guarantee that you won’t be found and have an anonymous living.
REALITY: Frequently, people are often tracked through friends and family, not their social security number.
Even if you do take steps to change your identity, a stalker may still be able to track you down through family and friends who know your new identity and location. Suppose you have ongoing legal issues with the abuser or don’t plan to relocate. In that case, the risk that your new identity will be discovered is exceptionally high. In addition, if the abuser is using electronic surveillance or other types of technology to track your activities, a name or SSN change may readily be discovered. Amicus can provide complete protection from a stalker or any entity monitoring you.
Myth #6: There’s nothing I can do to protect myself than change my SSN/SIN and name.
REALITY: There are a variety of strategies you can use. Everyone’s situation is complex and unique.
1. Offer an Alternative Form of ID
If a business or other organization asks for your SSN, offer your driver’s license number instead. Other alternative forms of ID include a passport, proof of current and previous address (such as utility bills), or even a student ID from a college or university.
2. Ask Why They Want It and How It Will Be Handled
If the business insists, ask questions. You have a right to know why it’s necessary to provide your SSN and how it will be handled. Ask questions such as:
- Why is having my SSN necessary?
- To whom will you share my number if I provide it?
- How will my number be stored?
- Will you cover my liability or losses if my number is stolen or compromised?
3. Leave Your Card at Home
Don’t carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet or purse. Don’t enter your SSN into your phone, laptop, or other devices. It would be rare for you to need your card. Typically, reciting the number is all that’s required. Keep the number in your head and the card locked up at home.
4. Shred Mail and Documents With Personal Details
Discarded mail and documents are a magnet for identity thieves. Don’t just throw out papers that contain personal details, such as your SSN. Get a paper shredder and use it regularly. While you’re at it, don’t leave mail in an outside mailbox for long periods. Stealing mail is another way thieves can make off with your information.
5. Don’t Use Your SSN as a Password
Don’t use the whole SSN—or even a part of it—as a password. The password file can be stolen and decrypted, or someone can watch you type it in from over your shoulder.
6. Don’t Send Your SSN via an Electronic Device
Never type your SSN into an email or instant message and send it. The majority of such statements can be intercepted and read. Also, don’t leave a voicemail that includes your SSN. If you need to contact someone and give them your number, it’s best to do it in person. The second best way is to reach them on the phone and do it live.
7. Don’t Give It out to Strangers
You should never provide your SSN to someone you don’t know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the Internet. In general, please don’t give your SSN to anyone unless you are confident they have a reason and a right to have it.
8. Monitor Your Bank and Credit Card Accounts
Keep close tabs on your bank and credit card balances. This is one way to ensure your SSN and identity have not been compromised. Many banks let you sign up for account alerts. They will send you text messages or call you if transactions exceed a certain amount or if someone tries to use your SSN to access your account.
Some other ways of protecting your identity include the following:
Google yourself from a safe computer (at a public library or friend’s house) to find out what information about you is already in the public domain. Amicus International can provide you with a new identity that cannot be “discovered” online.