Not protecting your social security number can make you an easy target for identity thefts, allowing them to rob your current accounts and to set up new accounts in your name for their own use. Your social security number can be stolen through your computer, by gaining access to your online accounts that may house this information. It can also be taken by “old fashion” physical robbery (taking a purse or wallet) and picking through your trash to find an un-shredded bank statement or other important document.
Who really needs to know your Social?
Not everyone that asks for this information has to have it. It is your right to ask the business why they need it, where they will store it, and who else will have access to it.
The following business will most likely ask for it, but do not have to have your social security number.
- Schools (unless applying for financial aid)
- Sports Leagues
- Utility/Telephone Company
- Hospital/Medical Office
It is common that they will ask for your SSN, because it is an easy way to identify you and it can allow for a more complete background check. An easy substitute can be your driver’s license in some cases.
It will be necessary to provide your social security number to the following:
- Internal Revenue Service for your tax return or to obtain a federal loan
- Banks and loan providers
- US Treasury for savings bonds
- Other government-funded programs such as workers’ compensation
Try to not automatically go through filling out the blanks on an application if you are unsure of why the person asking may need the information in the first place. It is your identity at risk and your time and effort at stake to rectify any issues that come up from disclosing too much information.