One’s social security number is a string of numbers that identify an individual. The social security system was formed precisely to offer protection and security to an individual through benefits and such. However, in the past few years, one’s social security number has proven to be the cause that threatens both one’s personal protection and security.
Identity theft continues to be a threat to many individuals in America and across the globe. Unfortunately, although the social security number is supposed to provide one with security, it has been found most often to be the cause of identity theft. For this reason, one must be very careful in giving out one’s social security number to prevent identity theft.
Of course there are extreme measures available like shredding all official documents that contain sensitive information such as one’s social security number before disposing of them in your garbage can. This is done to prevent thieves from finding this essential information in your trash. It is kind of extreme though because this scenario seems straight out of a recent Hollywood offering but it does happen and in this case, it is better to err in the side of caution than suffer the tremendous headache, confusion and gigantic problems that besiege victims of identity theft.
However, there are other simpler ways of protecting yourself from identity theft from misuse of your social security. As much as possible, don’t carry documents with you with sensitive information like your social security number in your wallet. Find some other safe place to put it. Seems tedious yes but if your wallet is stolen, all your valuable numbers are left vulnerable to unscrupulous thieves who can compromise your identity.
A much simpler way of protecting yourself against identity theft through your social security number is by simply being careful when giving it away. Remember that mostly, only government agencies have the right to ask for your social security number. Don’t readily give it away to prospective employers. Make sure you’ve got the job first before giving your social security number away. Also, there will be some retailers that will require you to give information such as your social security number.
Unless you feel totally confident in the retailer’s security, don’t give them your social security number. Remember that other than government agencies, no one else should be given your sensitive numbers although some may ask for it. For instance, banks and other financial institutions may need your social security number to check on your credentials. This is not completely secure but some institutions will offer identity theft protection for a fee and perhaps it’s better to do business with financial institutions like these for proper risk management.
However, there may be some retail outlets, like video stores and the like that will ask for your social security number. Think twice before giving it away. Yes they may deny you their services if you don’t comply but there’s no reason for you to choose establishments that force you to compromise your security and cause you to be vulnerable to identity theft.
Your best protection against identity theft is caution and knowledge. Know your rights. Know the rules and regulations that are out there that should protect you and keep abreast of the dos and don’ts of giving away sensitive information like your social security number. To learn and understand more about identity theft through social security numbers, point your browser to www.ssa.gov Here you will find a rich resource on anything and everything to do with identity theft and there are special links and articles specifically on identity theft through social security numbers.