Protecting your SS Number

Protecting your social security number is one thing most people do not even consider. However, once a thief has this information he or she will be able to do so much in the line of stealing your identity. Before handing over your social security number, be sure this company or business really needs the number.

Most of the times, your social security number is used for credit purposes such as applying for a loan. The company will use your social security number to learn about your credit rating.

On the other hand, if a criminal has your social security number in their hands they can apply for a loan, a driver’s license, and many other things. Once they use your number, you may soon find that you are in big trouble.

With a social security number, individuals can actually take over the identity of another person quite easily. In most cases, as long as you know the number, you are not asked to produce the card; therefore, criminals can use your social security in order to gain a proper photo ID such as a driver’s license in your name.

Now, they are on their first step in stealing your identity and using it to manifest money in one way or another for themselves.

The Significance of SS Number Theft

According to the California Public Interest Research Group, a victim of identity theft can spend around 175 hours and $800 in an attempt to clear their record of fraudulent charges. This is often a result of someone getting the use of another person's Social Security number and using it to open up fraudulent bank accounts, apply for personal loads, open credit card accounts or other nefarious projects in their name with criminal intent.

Identity theft involving a consumer's Social Security number can also result in theft of medical identity. A perpetrator could even use that consumer's Social Security number to make claims for medical benefits and gain medical services or obtain prescription drugs for themselves.

Employment Fraud

Another way a SS number can be abused is in committing employment fraud. A person can be victimized by someone else using their Social Security number for instance on W-4 forms for employers. This could result in IRS consequences come tax time.

Since Social Security numbers are generally required to open up accounts of various natures, claim medical benefits and obtain drugs, file for employment or even open accounts with utilities, an unscrupulous person in possession of a stolen Social Security number can potentially wreak havoc on a number of aspects of an innocent person's life.

Further Considerations

There are several ways in which to secure your SS details when you use your imagination and common sense. Here are some additional considerations that should be taken into account when trying to protect a valuable Social Security number.

When supplying the number to any merchant, you should consider whether it's really needed by them or not. A good safety measure would be to offer up an alternative form of identification if it is asked for such as your driver's license number or your state identification number.

If you have any documentation with your Social Security number printed on it and you need to dispose of it, instead of simply throwing it away in the trash, make a point to destroy it all. You can do that either by shredding or burning the documents.

Even more important is to make sure that you keep your Social Security number and card in a safe, secure place. This could be somewhere like a safe deposit box at a bank or in a fireproof safe in order to make absolutely certain it can't fall into the wrong hands.