As the number of identity theft cases and hacking scams increase, it is becoming more and more important to be aware of where and how you are releasing your personal information. Announced by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 17.6 million U.S. residents experienced some type of identity theft in 2014 (source). The most critical piece of information to protect is the master key to your identity – your Social Security Number (SSN)!
Below are 6 tips to help protect your Social Security Number:
1. Offer Alternate Identification
It is important to be aware of who really needs to know your Social Security number and who does not. Often times financial institutions, employers, and the IRS will require the use of your Social Security number to open a new account, run a background check, or file your taxes. If you are prompted to provide your SSN, ask if an alternate ID such as your driver’s license will work instead. For example, your SSN is not always needed to run a credit report. (source) Continue reading