How To Protect Your Social Security Number From Identity Theft – This article was co-authored by staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validates articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Our editorial work is closely monitored by the company’s content management team to ensure that each article is backed by reliable research and meets our high quality standards.
A Social Security Number, or SSN, is an identification number issued to all US citizens, permanent residents, and workers. Although it was originally created as a way to track Social Security payments and benefits, it is now used in everything from tax reports to medical records. As such, protecting your Social Security number from misuse and theft is essential to preserving your identity and financial reputation.
How To Protect Your Social Security Number From Identity Theft
This article was co-authored by staff. Our trained team of editors and researchers validates articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Our editorial work is closely monitored by the company’s content management team to ensure that each article is backed by reliable research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 5,416 times.
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To protect your Social Security number, keep the original card in a safe and memorize the number. Give your SSN only to organizations that need it, such as your employer and the IRS. To make sure your identity is secure, check your Social Security earnings report for inaccuracies. Be sure to monitor your financial accounts and credit report for unauthorized activity and keep an eye out for fraudulent accounts opened with your SSN. For tips on how to report identity theft, read on! With identity theft and hacking on the rise, it’s becoming increasingly important to be aware of where and how you share your personal information. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 17.6 million US residents experienced some form of identity theft in 2014 ( source ). The most important piece of information to protect is the master key to your identity – your Social Security Number (SSN)!
It’s important to be aware of who really needs to know your social security number and who doesn’t. Financial institutions, employers, and the IRS will often need to use your Social Security number to open a new account, run a background check, or file taxes. If asked for your SSN, ask if an alternative ID, such as a driver’s license, will work instead. For example, your SSN is not always needed to run a credit report. (source)
Purses and wallets can be lost or stolen; protect against further loss by not carrying your social security number. Check ID cards, health insurance cards, and Medicare cards to see if the card shows your SSN or other personal information. If so, leave the card in a safe place. If you must carry your card, put your personal information on a piece of paper and make a copy to carry with you.
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You can also use www.annualcreditreport.com to access all three reports for free once a year. Once received, review each one for accuracy and to ensure you haven’t been a victim of identity theft. Alternatively, if you don’t plan to apply for credit in the near future, consider freezing your records.
Gaining access to your SSN, along with account numbers, addresses, and dates of birth, opens up opportunities for identity theft. Most financial institutions, as well as the Social Security Administration, have gotten better at not including your full Social Security number on statements or important documents. Instead, you will usually find the last 4 digits of your SSN. When replacing old statements or documents with new ones that include your SSN, be sure to shred the old one. This includes tax returns after 3 to 7 years, depending on the specifics of the return.
As many individuals and organizations move from paper to electronic operations, be cautious about sharing information. Refrain from sending your Social Security number electronically, storing your SSN on an unprotected computer system, or using your SSN as a login (source). When personal information is shared, confirm the use of data encryption. Use strong passwords and update them periodically; also use anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
Until organizations stop using your Social Security number as a primary identifier, individuals are vulnerable to various forms of identity theft. Although some financial institutions may contact you about suspicious activity, follow the steps above to find out who has your SSN to try to prevent unauthorized use of your personal information.
What To Do If Someone Has Your Social Security Number
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The Social Security Administration system ensures that all United States citizens who meet certain requirements can have a comfortable golden age. For this reason, our social security card must be a document that we always keep an eye on. Keeping it in your wallet all the time is a very bad idea because it will likely break and we will lose our SSA membership number.
However, that’s not the only thing we can worry about when it comes to our social security number. The first thing to keep in mind is that if someone gets our number, we could be at risk. Thousands of Social Security numbers are sold online and used fraudulently every day.
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Assuming someone with our social security number might not be a problem. But when we realize that in some places we can use it to apply for a loan, to apply for drugs, or to use Medicare, we can see the problem. For this reason, it is very important to protect your SSA number. And in 2023, there are new ways to steal our information, so we should pay attention to tips to prevent it.
Overall, the top tip for protecting our Social Security is to never let anyone see it. We should only use it in official agencies. However, there are other more specific tips that will help you avoid problems related to this situation.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people overlook it. If we say our SSA number out loud, people around us might copy it. And that would mean serious problems for us. Avoid this at all costs and you can keep your number much safer.
Another basic trick is to memorize the number. This will ensure that it is not written down anywhere. So no one will be able to steal it from our wallet or anywhere else.
Tips To Protect Your Social Security Number
Always remember it, but keep the official document at home so you don’t forget the number at some point. Spend some time and memorize it so you don’t have the misfortune of someone stealing your number.
Another general tip is to never carry your card. They won’t ask for the real document anywhere, so you won’t need it. We will just have to memorize the number as we mentioned earlier.
Also, if we don’t carry a social security card with us, we will not only avoid having the document stolen. We will also prevent document breakage or damage.
This advice is very relevant, because in 2023 more and
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