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Safeguard Your Social Security Number

The nine digits identity thieves just love.

Your Social Security number (SSN) is the nine-digit number representing you. Considered the “cream of the crop” by identity thieves, a compromised SSN can lead to big problems. Criminals can use your SSN to apply for a loan, open an account, apply for a job—all in YOUR name, ruining your credit or worse. Armed with a bit more information, they can even drain your existing accounts. With a few precautions, you can help avoid becoming a victim.

MAKE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ANTI-SOCIAL

  1. Never give your SSN in an email or to an unsolicited caller. Phishing schemes occur every day online or over the phone.
  2. When online, only provide your SSN within the secure environments of companies or organizations you have a trusted relationship with.
  3. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet in the event it’s lost or stole
  4. If you need to dispose of documents that include your SSN—old tax files for example—shred them! Criminals routinely dig through garbage to find this information
  5. You don’t have to give your SSN to all businesses that ask for it. Schools, sports leagues, cell phone companies, landlords, hospitals and property managers often ask for it to run credit checks. Find out first if your driver’s license number will suffice.
  6. Ask questions: Why do you need my SSN? Will my number be shared with anyone? Can I see your Privacy Policy? How will you store my SSN?

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS COMPROMISED

If your Social Security number was or may have been compromised, report it to the Social Security Administration (1.800.269.0271) and the Internal Revenue Service (1.800.829.0433).

It’s important to talk to the SSA if you have reason to believe your Social Security number has been compromised, even if you don’t yet see any evidence of financial fraud. A thief could be planning to steal your tax refund, or to obtain employment or credit in your name.

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