Tips For Keeping Your Social Security Number Safe
You can consider your social security number as the key you need to open your financial future. However, if a thief is able to arm themselves with these nine numbers, they can ruin your credit and your name. They will have the ability to open new accounts in your name and/or steal money out of accounts you already own.
There are many sophisticated and high tech ways that thieves are able to get this information. Sometimes, they use hacking software to get it, and sometimes their victims unknowingly provide it to them. Phishing emails, keystroke software and spyware are just a few tactics used by hackers and identity thieves to gain access to your personal information.
Low tech ways of getting your financial information includes taking wallets and purses, checking the trash for discarded and non-shredded financial information.
There are several things that you can do to keep your social security number safe.
Know When and Where You Should Provide Your Social Security Number
Unless you have lived off of the grid for your entire life, you needed to provide your social security number to someone at some point in your life. There are several organizations who would need to know your social security number including:
• Government funded programs
If someone other than these types of agencies are asking for your social security number, you are well within your rights to inquire why, what it will be used for and who will have access to it. If its lost you should immediately report it and get a replacement card.
Know Which Agencies Do Not Need Your Number
If you have filled out applications and forms, you know that many have a blank space where your social security number is supposed to go. There are agencies that may ask for it if they are doing a background or credit check, but do not necessarily have to have it. These agencies and entities are:
• Utility companies
• Insurance companies
These are two ways you can protect your number. Always keep your card secure, not on your person and shred financial documents and statements immediately. If its lost you should immediately report it and get a replacement card.