You make sure not to lose your credit card, mobile phone and ID. You know that these items can be used by malevolent parties to defraud you and compromise your safety. But what about your social security number?
Don’t Give Out Your SSN
Start simple. Giving out your social security number means that someone else controls who obtains knowledge of it. Understand that outside of your employer, the IRS and financial institutions, you are not obliged to give your SSN to anyone else.
Offer Other Form of ID
The party asking you for your SSN should be willing to accept another form of identification. A driver’s license or other ID should suffice for their needs.
Do Your Due Diligence
When someone states that they want your SSN, ask them why they want it and how it will be used. You’ve every right to ask for more information and check with the proper authority if the request is legal.
Run Your Credit Report Annually
Running your credit report allows you to see if someone is using your SSN without your permission. Inquiries about your credit from parties you are not aware of are a red flag. Furthermore, checking for new lines of credit will help you catch fraud early and report it to authorities.
Exercise Safekeeping of Your Card
Your social security card is a small piece of paper that can easily be misplaced or stolen. Leaving it in a certain safe place is better than carrying it in a purse or wallet.
Destroy Documents with Sensitive Information
Your social security number can be contained on documents that have sensitive personal information. Simply throwing these out in the trash can be a dangerous practice. Criminals often scour trash to find data they can use against their victims.
Paper shredders provide a solution to this problem. Run old mail and other documents through the shredder to ensure you don’t leave a paper trail that includes your SSN.
Don’t Send Your SSN via Electronic Device
Even if you take all necessary security precautions on your end, the recipient of your email may not. Sending your social security number via email or instant message may leave you open to hacking. Always prefer giving your number in person.
Consider Using an SSN Protection Service
For maximum safety of your SSN, consider using a social security number protection service like IDShield. The service keeps track of your social security number and alerts you of any suspicious activity in a timely manner. This way, you aren’t caught off guard chasing after a situation that can be a stressful hassle.
Protect Your Social Security Number
With social security numbers being used in everything from obtaining credit and getting a driver’s license to applying for a passport and enrolling in Medicare, keeping it secure is important. Make sure you take all necessary measures to prevent criminals from stealing your identity.