Protecting Your Social Security Number

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

Many people wonder if it is safe in certain situations to give out their Social Security number. We sure are asked for it a lot, but do you have to give it? When is it necessary? Here is some perspective:

One of the best rules you can live by is this: just because a person asks for your Social Security number, it doesn’t mean you have to give it. But also remember there are situations where you will not be provided various services unless you get it out.

You might feel that you have to, though, and freely give it. This could be a huge mistake, though. There are many times when you want to, though, and you should, but you have to do it with discretion.

Here’s the thing. Some of the people and organizations that ask for your Social Security number really have no business asking. Even when they ask for the last four digits of your SSN, don’t give that out, either, unless you know that the company already has it on file.

Really, when the IRS is involved, or other government agencies, or it is something financial that’s credit driven, such as getting a loan, you likely need to give out your Social Security number. In other cases, like applying for a job, you can tell a business you are not comfortable giving your number unless you are hired, and then they would need it for tax purposes.

I give out my Social Security number when required, with a little scrutiny, but in the end, I’m not worried about identity theft due to the fact that I have ID theft protection and a credit freeze which in most cases makes my Social Security number useless to a thief.

Tips to Protect Your Social Security Number

Here are some tips you can use to protect your Social Security number:

  • Don’t put your SSN on any written application or document. If your application is denied because of this, ask them if it’s really necessary, otherwise, give them your SSN.
  • Ask your bank if they absolutely require your SSN to verify your identity. There are other options they can use. But the Patriot Act might require it.
  • Consider extending your ID theft protection to include your children’s SSNs. Teach them to never give it out.
  • If you are at the doctor’s office, find out if you can use another number, such as the account number for your insurance.
  • Don’t send your SSN via email. If someone wants it, call them and give it to them verbally. Even then, don’t give the number out unless you know without a doubt that it’s legitimate.
  • You should get a statement from the Social Security Administration concerning your account each year. If your income is too high, someone else is probably using your number.
  • Don’t keep your Social Security card in your wallet. Instead, memorize the number and keep the card at home.
  • Don’t ever use your SSN as a password for anything.
  • If, for any reason, your SSN is in your PC, make sure the document is encrypted or password-protected.
  • Before you throw away any paperwork that has your SSN on it, black it out, and then shred the documents.

Really, all you have to do is have some common sense when it comes to your Social Security number. For instance, if you are applying for credit, it makes sense that they would need this. If you are getting a gym membership, unless they are granting a credit, they don’t need it.

Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.

Comments (8)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Robert - I know that People must be careful. Some ignorant employers have old application forms asking for this an other illegal info.

Sep 17, 2021 10:17 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Great advice Robert. You can never be too careful when protecting your SSN. What worries me the most is when companies & even credit agencies have data breaches. Providing free credit monitoring for a year or so is not much comfort when that happens.

Sep 17, 2021 01:16 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Robert- I couldn't believe it when I received my Medicare card and my SS number was on it. I even complained to someone. Thankfully, they've changed that now. I agree with you...putting a hold on your credit can offer you some protection. 

Sep 17, 2021 05:43 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hello Robert... I am very persnicketty about when and how I provide my social security number and have been for years.

Sep 18, 2021 12:56 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Sep 18, 2021 06:15 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great advice, Robert. We get asked for this often, and there seem to be quite a number of spammers trying to collect the info via email or over the phone, with a call saying there is something fraudulent going on with your SS#.

 

Sep 21, 2021 08:16 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Many vendors demand your SSN, so, if you don't comply, you'll be denied getting their products or services. So, most consumers haven't any choice in this matter, do they? 

Sep 22, 2021 12:39 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

So very important to not share this number.  When I shredded years of tax returns, I had to go page by page because my CPA had it on every page of the questionnaire.  Kinda frustrating paying someone to do your taxes and see that they mailed a 25 page document to you with your SSN on every single page for years!  Too easy to hijack that number!

Sep 27, 2021 04:12 PM