The 7 Riskiest Places To Give Your Social Security Number
The social security number is one of the most personalized forms of identification, allowing Americans access to numerous government benefits. The universal nature of social security makes these numbers the target for others trying to sell products or services or merely attempting to make an easy buck. It is for these and other reasons why Americans should try to secure their social security numbers in spite of often relentless attempts to reveal them.
The obtaining of social security information goes far beyond its use for legal commercial purposes. Identity theft in the United States has reached epidemic proportions, and approximately one out of every three victims in this crime category reported having his or her social security information compromised. This is significant when considering that a social security number is key to one’s personal and professional interests, and it can be used in a number of underhanded ways.
It goes without saying that you should never give out your social security number over the telephone or the Internet, or share it in public areas, including stores or on the street. It may also be wise not to place your card in your wallet or purse, which can be lost or stolen. However, there are a number of less obvious groups and organizations that should not be given your social security number unless absolutely necessary.
College or Universities– One of the worst places to give out such information is at a college or university. These institutions have notoriously weak security procedures, and campuses are often filled with many strangers of questionable backgrounds.
Hospitals– Hospitals are also known for having poor security, whether it involves the patients themselves or the information they possess.
Medical Businesses– Medical businesses should be considered potentially hazardous in the same way, especially firms engaged in product distribution or other services that involve the sharing of customer information with other industries.
Insurance Companies– For the same reason, health insurance companies should be placed on the watch list when it comes to having your personal information.
Nonprofit Organizations– Nonprofit organizations often run background checks on donors or other participants, and social security information can easily get around to others. This is a good reason not to give them your number.
Local Government Agencies– The federal government may have your social security number, but other government agencies, particularly those at the state and local level, should not. It is no secret that governments have trouble keeping secrets.
Technology Companies– Technology companies are also notorious for sharing their customer information with other businesses looking for customers, so thing twice about giving them your number.
Unless absolutely necessary, you should consider using something other than your social security number for identification purposes, a simple thought that can help you protect yourself and your future.