Protect your Social Security #

  • Protect Your Social Security NumberSocial security numbers are essential to your identity.  It is the "key" by which the government keeps track of your tax records and entitlement benefits (such as Social Security.)  Many employers, insurance companies, banks, and other institutions need your Social Security number as part of their providing you with services.

  • If not protected properly, social security numbers can also be used by thiefs to obtain credit cards, loans and other financial products by pretending to be you.  This is known as Identity Theft.

  • Identity Theft can be costly, both in terms of actually financial losses or in the large amount of time you will expend in getting your records restored and corrected.  For this reason, you should be extremely careful about to whom and why you divulge your Social Security number.

  • To help ensure the confidentiality of your Social Security number, keep in mind the following suggetions:

    • Do not carry your card with you.  Memorize your number, and store your card in a safe and secure location.

    • Be careful regarding to whom you provide your number.  It is common to provide your number for most situations involving the government, agencies, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, schools, etc. 

      • If asked to provide your number to a business not on this short list, ask for more information about why they want the number and how they intend to use it.

    • Do not provide your number during a telephone call unless you are absolutely certain of the identity of the other party.  If the other party called you, how can you be certain it actually is who you think it is?  If unsure, you should instruct the caller that you will call them back, using a phone number you know to be associated with that company or agency.

    • If you are providing your number over a website, make sure that website is encrypted.  Most browsers have an easy mechanism that lets you know whether communications to and from that website are in fact encrypted.

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