When Should You Share Your Social Security Number?
Most adults have memorized their Social Security number.
Yet we’re taught not to share it—except under special circumstances. This post will describe when it is safe to share your Social Security number.
How to Protect Your Social Security Number
There are concrete steps you can take to keep your Social Security number safe.
First, don’t store your Social Security card in your purse or wallet. Instead, fine a safe place to keep it at home. Safes and locked drawers or filing cabinets are ideal.
Second, shred any physical documents you may have that show your Social Security number. Don’t throw them out until you do this.
And finally, always ask why someone is asking for your Social Security number when they request it. We may need to share our Social Security number with our employer, or with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but that doesn’t mean anyone off the street should have access to it.
The truth is that sharing your Social Security number with anyone who requests it puts you at risk of identity theft. Be sure to exercise caution here. If something feels off, it probably is.
How to Proceed if Your Social Security Number Is Compromised
Think someone has used your Social Security number to commit identity theft?
Be sure to report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your local police department.
If you believe someone has used your Social Security number to access your tax return or to get a job, you can also report the incident to the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-722-1213.
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