How to Protect Your Social Security Number

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Best 10 Social Security Number Tips

Identity theft is an issue that affects all aspects of life. One way to protect yourself from identity thieves is by ensuring you have a strong password and keeping your Social Security number secure.

The Social Security number is a high-value target for identity theft. It’s important to take the necessary steps, like protecting your SSN with an ID protection plan and/or services from one of many reputable companies out there today.

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The Social Security number or SSN for short in this article’s context refers to an important piece of personally identifiable information. Identity thieves can use it as their keystone – unlocking all kinds of fraud and identity theft with just one touch.

What can identity thieves do with your Social Security number?

Here’s a sample:

  • Open bank accounts 
  • Open new credit cards or lines of credit to make purchases in your name
  • File tax returns to obtain your refund
  • Open new service accounts in your name, such as utilities or internet service
  • Put you in major debt 
  • Destroy your credit score across all three credit bureaus

Identity theft is a very serious issue that can have lasting effects on your life.

The last thing you want after being hacked are questions about why it happened and what else might be exposed in this data breach, so make sure to protect yourself before anything else with these tips from experts.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft following a data breach, but it’s important not just focus on what happens after the fact.

You should think about how your information might be used prior to and during these events in order to prevent any future breaches from occurring

–  “No matter how big or small.” This doesn’t mean that businesses aren’t sensitive toward cyber thieves – they surely do care!

The point here is instead focus all efforts towards prevention by taking precautions now even if something does happen (and we’ll always want an emergency plan).

Protecting your Social Security number is vital to keeping yourself safe from identity theft.

If you ever find out that someone has obtained access because of a breach, there are ways for them not to be able to take advantage of as much information about themselves being exposed in return.

You’ve likely never thought about it, but your Social Security number is a very important piece of information.

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It’s critical that you learn some protection methods for this sensitive data and understand how exposure can lead to identity theft when hackers get their hands on our personal records.

Worth noting: It’s important to protect your full Social Security number — all nine digits. 

The last four digits of your social security number are important for a variety of reasons.

They often help identify you, and lenders might use this information to determine whether or not they want to offer credit in the future – so keep them safe!

Here are some tips for protecting your Social Security number and identity. 

Tip 1: Memorize Your Social Security number

Knowing your Social Security number well can come in handy. It’s there when you need it, and chances are that if something happens where someone requests access to or records of what is listed on their card (for example an insurance claim), then having memorized this information will be a relief.

This might seem like a small thing.  Your social security number is an important piece of information that can be used by criminals to commit identity theft or other fraud if they have access to it.

But if you’re not carrying your card with you, or you’re not writing it down on slips of paper, you’re far less likely to drop that paper or card on the ground or leave it behind at a local bank or government office. 

This means it’s less likely, too, that thieves might get their hands on your number.

Tip 2: Keep Your Social Security Card and Number in a Safe Place

Your Social Security card deserves a home, and you should keep it safe.

Whether in the form of a lock box or file cabinet with plenty of security measures put into place to ensure its safety from prying eyes; make sure this important document has somewhere secure until needed again.

You need to be extra careful with your Social Security card. If you lose it, or if someone steals the things from inside of our purses/wallets, then that person can get access to it. 

Remember to keep your Social Security card secure. You never know when a thief might grab it out of thin air!

Tip 3: Leave Home Without It 

If you’re ever in a situation where it is necessary to show your card, be sure that any documents with an SSN on them are secure.

If you need to show your card, then make sure that it’s hidden away before getting into any conversation. 

You may also want to consider hiding or securing other important pieces of identification such as driver’s licenses and credit cards so they don’t get lost too.

Theft is a big problem for many people. If you’re not careful, your Social Security number could end up in the hands of criminals who will use it to steal from both yourself and others.

The best way to protect yourself from identity theft is by not leaving your Social Security number at home. 

For this reason alone we recommend that EVERYONE leave their social security card at home in a locked safe. 

Tip 4: Rarely Share Your Number

The Social Security number is a key piece of information that can be used to identify you as an individual.

But there’s no reason why your pizza delivery guy needs it, and if someone requests this sensitive data from him or her -ask questions!

Why? How will they be used; What happens if I refuse?

You may be able to offer an alternative form of identification, such as a driver’s license number, student ID, or utility bill.

Tip 5: Beware of Phone and Email Scams

Identity thieves will try to get your personal information by posing as employers or government offices.

For example, they might email or call you and request that way give out access for them to take over account management; avoid sharing this number unless it is positively confirmed as being legitimate.

Better yet, consider calling the requesting organization at a verifiable telephone number to provide the information. Or visit in person.

Tip 6: Create Strong Passwords

Identity thieves are always looking for any opportunity they can get to access your personal information.

Strong passwords that use a unique combination of numbers, letters, and symbols can help prevent identity thieves from accessing your personal information in online accounts.  

Never use a password that could compromise the safety of you or anyone else, and make sure it’s difficult enough so as not to be easily guessable by someone trying reverse engineer what makes up these passwords.

You should never use your Social Security number. And don’t use your SSN’s last four digits as a PIN. 

Use different passwords for every account you have, and be sure to keep them in a place where they can easily access them.

If your email or social media accounts are protected by the same password that an application that stores private information like bank details, then hackers will eventually get into both.

The thief will then be able to access all your important accounts that are protected by that password, even ones that contain your Social Security number.

Tip 7: Shred Documents That Feature Personal Information

This may be common sense, but it’s important to shred any documents that contain your social security number or other identifying information.

The risk? Thieves could steal those from the garbage can and if you are not careful enough, might even find their way into a landfill and can be retrieved. 

Tip 8: Monitor Your Accounts and Be Aware of New Accounts Being Opened

The best way to protect yourself from identity theft is by taking care of your credit. If someone obtains your SSN, you may find evidence of unlawful use in your bank, credit, or other accounts.

Consider setting up alerts with your financial institutions to flag unusual activity, such as monetary withdrawals or purchases over a certain amount.

You can do this in two ways:

Watch out for unusual activity on accounts, like withdrawals or purchases over a certain amount; and check that everything looks good with the three major agencies every 12 months at no cost.

Go to AnnualCreditReport.com.

Tip 9: Consider an Identity Theft Protection Service

Identity thieves are continuing to evolve, and so too must your methods for protecting yourself.

One way you can protect yourself from identity theft is by securing your Social Security number with a service that notifies users when their Social Security number has been found on the dark web.

This may help avoid future fraud or other types of crime committed against loved ones. 

In general, though, these services will set you back anywhere between $10-$35 per month depending upon what level of protection they provide; something worth considering before signing up immediately.

Some identity theft protection services include features to monitor your credit reports, alert you when new accounts are opened in your name, or when banks, credit card companies, or other financial services providers check your credit. 

Services like these give you peace of mind knowing that if anything happens to pop up on your report or accounts in your name, you will immediately know about it and take steps towards fixing the problem.

For example, if you recently bought a car, you might receive an alert for a new loan.

However, if you receive an alert that a new credit card was opened in your name, and you didn’t apply for one, that might be a sign of fraud. Some identity theft protection services allow you to respond to alerts via email, phone, and text messages.

Tip 10: Be Careful Sharing Through Electronic Devices

There are risks in sharing your Social Security number by email, text, voicemail, and fax.

Luckily, there are some easy ways you can protect yourself from identity theft by following best practices when it comes to sending text messages or emails that contain sensitive data like Social Security numbers. 

For example, your Social Security number could get intercepted and read after you send your information. There are sometimes ways to help keep your information safe. 

For instance, by using a VPN on an unprotected Wi-Fi network. But the safest way to share may be face-to-face with someone you know and trust. 

Always use encryption when communicating digitally. Don’t take shortcuts such as transferring files via USB drive without proper precautions in place (you know how frequently those get infected).

NEVER share passwords with anyone else. Make sure they’re unique for every service used. 

Conclusion

Your Social Security number is a big responsibility and a vital component of your identity. You may not be able to control whether it’s exposed in a data breach. But there’s still plenty you can do to help keep it safe.

Your best bet if you don’t want to take the time each month to track your data is to get yourself your own protection with an identity theft monitoring service. This is the best peace of mind you can do to protect yourself.