Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number

More Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Identity Theft

The social security number has become an easy universal way of identifying people, but that was never its intended purpose. In fact, the open use of our social security numbers may be increasing the rate of identity theft crimes. Below you’ll learn more about protecting yourself from identity theft by protecting your social security number.

Just Say No

It’s seems like nearly every organization nowadays asks for social security numbers. Youth sports leagues in my area sometimes want a social security number to register for sports in addition to the standard demographic information.

Information such as name, age, and registration fees are expected and required, but the social security number is unnecessary. Even your children can be at risk for identity theft, so only give out their social security number when it is absolutely necessary.

Many organizations claim that they need this information for insurance reasons. Although this might be true, you should not hand this information to a “volunteer” for the organization.

The tactful approach would be to decline giving the social security number and simply say that it will be provided if an insurance claim has to be filed. If that is not a possibility, then ask if you could provide the social security number directly to the insurance company rather than having it on file locally. This way you will fulfill the requirement but reduce your child’s risk for identity theft.

What's Going On?

The problem is that a lot of non-financial organizations rely on a social security number for identification purposes. They do so because social security numbers are guaranteed to be unique.

The problem is that what is easy for companies are not always the best solution for consumers. If the organization wants to identify you with a number, they should make up their own identification number specific to their organization. This would be in the best interest of all consumers and would go a long way to reducing identity theft.

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