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What is your social security number?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Affinity Realty Group

This is a question many of us are asked on a regular basis without realizing that large amounts of our personal information, including tax, credit, education, and medical information, are keyed to our social security number.  Imagine the damage identity thieves could do if they had this information.  To protect your own social security number and those you service, you can do the following:

Never put a social security number in the header of an email;

Never file documents by social security numbers;

Ask creditors and merchants if you can substitute a special password or code to use instead of your social security number;

Shred any documents that have any personal information or credit account numbers on them before discarding (old bank statements);


Monitor your credit report and make sure that when your credit is run for a purchase that the report is shredded after the credit score is obtained;


Never print your social security number on your checks;


Cover the screen or keypad when using an ATM so thieves cannot read your personal identification number (PIN); and lastly

Always drop your outgoing mail in the U.S. Postal blue boxes or at the post office instead of your home mailbox.

Susan Milner
Florida Future Realty, Inc. - Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral Real Estate Broker, FloridaFutureAgents
Good suggestions. We should all also check our credit report 1 or 2 times a year to make sure nothing strange is going on.
Nov 09, 2007 12:17 AM
Social Media, Email Marketing & Search Engine Optimization Specialist
PCS Online Solutions - Del Mar, CA
Good points. I had a friend tell me how uncomfortable he felt filling out a job application that requested his SSN. Since he didn't know if he'd get the job, why should he provide the number? What happens to the application if he's rejected? Do they shred, or leave the app around for somebody to misuse?
Nov 09, 2007 12:21 AM
Joeann Fossland
Advantage Solutions Group - Tucson, AZ
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
Good suggestions. In AZ, while they ask you for your social security number for your drivers license, you can refuse and they just assign another number. I don't give mine out for anything I don't have to. I always question it or refuse.
Nov 09, 2007 12:23 AM
Al Maxwell
Keller Williams - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Agent
Some very good points. Sometimes closing attorneys ask for SSN's and really don't need them.
Nov 09, 2007 12:33 AM
Karen Y. Copeland
Affinity Realty Group - Fort Washington, MD
Broker Owner
Thank you for all the positive feedback.  This is my 2nd posting and I'm still feeling a little clueless :)
Nov 09, 2007 12:58 AM
Kris Krajecki
Kris Krajecki - FOX VALLEY MORTGAGE - Huntley, IL - Huntley, IL
Mortgage Broker Huntley, IL

Never put a social security number in the header of an email;

OMG!! Who in the world would do that!?!?!?



Nov 16, 2007 07:27 AM
Danielle V. Lewis
DDR Realty - Newburgh, NY
DDR Realty

Dependant on their jobs, some folks around here are required to have their SSNs printed on their checks. I always feel badly for them about that.

Nov 16, 2007 11:25 PM
Team Rhino Las Vegas Valley Sue Nelson & Terry Nachtergaele
ERA Sunbelt Realty - Las Vegas, NV
Great advice Karen.  It makes me crazy that people act like it's no more personal than our phone number.
Nov 17, 2007 02:52 AM
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH
528-92-1006.  Keep it safe though, I hate to give it out to just anyone :)
Nov 17, 2007 03:46 AM
Karen Y. Copeland
Affinity Realty Group - Fort Washington, MD
Broker Owner

Danielle - that's horrible.

Sue & Terry - Creditors and the like should understand and come up with a new system to identify their consumers.

Chad - you are a RIOT (lol)

Nov 17, 2007 11:50 AM
Vanessa Stalets
RE/MAX Elite - Brentwood, TN
REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate

Yes, I am far more careful than I used to be. I always question why when someone askes for it.

And have refused to give it when it was not really needed. I had not really thought of the mail thing, puting it in a mailbox versus the one on your curb.

Thanks for the heads up!


Nov 17, 2007 03:23 PM