The Paley Rothman Blog

Paley Rothman shares this library of resources with clients and friends of the firm to help them stay ahead of legal and business developments and trends. Here, you will find helpful tips and tools written by our employees.


What Happens When Someone Uses My Social Security Number or Steals My ID or Passport?

Unexpectedly, you receive notice of your required attendance at an administrative hearing by a state or federal unemployment agency. Or possibly a demand for repayment of unearned benefits for unemployment or worker’s compensation. Maybe you even apply for government benefits and find out your entitlement has already been used, but you never received any money.

What’s going on? 

A thief may have made you the victim of identity theft. He might have used or sold your government-issued id card (Social Security card number, driver’s license, passport) for employment identity theft purposes to file unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, or other purposes.

What should I do to stop this and repair the damage? Acting quickly to limit the harm is critical. 

  1. Social Security Number Misuse – maybe your Social Security card is lost or stolen, apply for a new card online for free at If someone has used your social security number or you think someone is using it for work, create an account at the Social Security Administration and check for errors in your history. If you find any, contact your local Social Security office.
  2. Driver’s License - If your license is lost or stolen, contact your issuing state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and report it. The state may flag the license for improper or illegal use by someone else and issue you a replacement.
  3. Passport - Call the State Department at 1-877-487-2778 immediately. If you are about to travel within 2 weeks, make an in-person appointment at a Passport Agency or Center. If you are not about to travel within 2 weeks, submit forms DS-11 or DS-82 and DS-64 in person at a Passport Application Acceptance Facility


We have discussed government-issued ids, tax, criminal and financial identity theft, but there are still many other types of identity theft to address. If you still feel you need help, consult a lawyer with experience on these matters.