Ellsworth Police say canceling your credit cards may not be enough to protect your money from hackers and identity thieves, as long as they have your social security number.

In a post on the department's Facebook page, Ellsworth Police tell the story of a woman who nearly had her social security benefits stolen by identity thieves. And it wasn't as simple as stealing the checks out of her mailbox. These clever hackers had used her personal data to apply for benefits online! She had gone online to check the amount of her benefits and do some financial planning for the future when she noticed that it said 'in process,' meaning that the social security administration was about to start sending her benefits to an impostor.

Luckily, she caught it in time and none of her money was stolen. But anyone who's close to retirement age and eligible to receive their benefits is a potential target. Ellsworth Police advise opening an account online at the Social Security Agency's website, and monitoring your benefits closely. If you're not ready to use your social security now, you can put a freeze on your account so no one else can use it either.

If you don't have a computer or don't feel comfortable using it for such sensitive information, you can call your local social security office. You will have to give them information so make sure you have things like your social security number and driver's license readily available. Just remember, only give this information out if YOU initiated the call and know that you're talking to the correct people. If someone calls and asks you for such personal information, just hang up. NEVER give your personal and financial information out to someone else who called you.

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