Let's start by saying that I know what I did was wrong.

I opened store credits at a few stores here in the U.S. By using a number that I made up in my head. It's only store credit and not a credit card. I did gave them my whole information the only thing I lie about was my social security number since at that time I didn't have one.

I also use it to get a gym membership which I decided not to pay them.

Now that I'm a resident and I have a brand new social security number. If I want to let's say open credit or buy a house, how can this affect me since I didn't pay the gym and another store that went out of business ( circuit city). How can this affect me?


While I agree with keshlam@ that the gym had no reason (or right) to ask for your SSN, giving false SSN to obtain credit or services (including gym membership) may be considered a crime. While courts disagree on whether you can be charged with identity theft in this scenario, you may very well be charged with fraud, and if State lines are crossed (which in case of store cards is likely the case) - it would be a Federal felony charge.

Other than criminal persecution, obviously not paying your debt will affect your credit report. Since you provided false identity information, the negative report may not be matched to you right away, but it may eventually. In the case the lender discovers later that you materially misrepresented information on your mortgage application - they may call on your loan and either demand repayment in full at once or foreclose on you. Also, material misrepresentation of facts on loan application is also a criminal fraud. Again, if State lines are crossed (which in most cases, with mortgages they are), it becomes a Federal wire fraud case. On mortgage application you're required to disclose your debts, and that includes lines of credits (store cards and credit cards are the same thing) and unpaid debts (like your gym membership, if its in collection).

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    That criminal prosecution could also lead to deportation, depending on what they are charged with, and the extent of the crime. – mhoran_psprep Aug 8 '15 at 10:46
  • Yeah, but it's a bit late to do much about that, except possibly to call the IRS and preemptively confess. There probably is a mechanism for that, but I have no idea shat the procedure would be. – keshlam Aug 8 '15 at 17:45
  • @keshlam IRS? Why would they care? As long as he didn't use the made-up SSN for tax returns, they couldn't care less. SSA will also not care because he didn't apply for benefits. This is a criminal fraud, so more likely the local police (for the gym) and the FBI (for the credit). – littleadv Aug 9 '15 at 0:43
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    Its not a random website FAQ, its the Social Security Administration's website, hence the .gov in the domain name. Since its a federal creation they get to decide how its legally used. I'm not confused, running a credit check is a perfectly legitimate reason to ask for one, and I've yet to see any level of law which says otherwise. I'm not sure how you think such a check would be discriminatory, that seems like a huge stretch. – Andy Aug 9 '15 at 20:41
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    As a general rule, assuming that just because someone asks for your SSN means you should give it to them leads to things like this: money.stackexchange.com/questions/50509/… – littleadv Aug 9 '15 at 20:54

Social security number should only be needed for things that involve tax withholding or tax payment. Your bank or investment broker, and your employer, need it so they can report your earnings. You need it when filing tax forms. Other than those, nobody should really be asking you for it.

The gym had absolutely no good reason to ask and won't have done anything with the number. I think we can ignore that one.

The store cards are a bigger problem. Depending on exactly what was done with the data, you may have been messing up the credit record of whoever legitimately had that number... and if so you might be liable on fraud charges if they or the store figure out what happened and come after you. But that's unrelated to the fact that you have a legitimate SSN now.

Basically, you really don't want to open this can of worms. And I hope you're posting from a disposable user ID and not using your real name...

(As I noted in a comment, the other choice would be to contact the authorities (I'm not actually sure which bureau/department would be best), say "I was young, foolish, and confused by America's process... do I need to do anything to correct this?", and see what happens... but it might be wise to get a lawyer's advice on whether that's a good idea, a bad idea, or simply unnecessary.)

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    "The gym had absolutely no good reason to ask and won't have done anything with the number" this isnt true. They may want to check your credit to see if youll live up to your commitment. If you don't give it they can refuse your membership. faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3791/… – Andy Aug 9 '15 at 16:36
  • True, but there are other solutions such as prepaying. The right response was still to say "no, cam we do this another way." Too late now. – keshlam Aug 9 '15 at 17:33
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    That may be true, but the business is under no obligation to accommodate your refusal. At any rate the part of the answer i quoted is factually incorrect. – Andy Aug 9 '15 at 20:13
  • In which case I'd go to the next fitness center, or the Y, until I found someone who was willing. Vote with your wallet; if enough do, they'll find a more reasonable solution. Laziness is not a business principle I support. – keshlam Aug 9 '15 at 21:20
  • That's fine, that's your choice. It may be hard to find one that doesn't, or you may be paying more. Or maybe you won't. But that's not my point, the point is that some businesses can ask and can refuse service if you decline. That's all I'm saying. I personally protect my SSN quite heavily myself. – Andy Aug 9 '15 at 21:24

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