Prevent Identity Theft By Protecting Your SSN

Worried about how to prevent identity theft? Your SSN can be the key to the entire business

If you want to prevent identity theft, there are a lot of simple, easy ways to go about it. The most important of these is protecting your SSN. Why is that such a big deal? Because revealing your SSN results in the worst and most damaging types of identity theft: the kind where thieves obtain credit in your name and ruin your rating without you ever knowing -- at least, not until the problems start.

Fortunately, a little common sense is all it takes for identity theft protection. Using the following tips will help you minimize the risks of someone pirating your personal information from your SSN.

1. Minimize the times you use your SSN

This is the most critical thing to prevent identity theft. After all, every time you use your SSN, there's a chance the wrong person will find it. Don't do business with businesses that require your SSN, or ask to speak to a manager and explain your objections. Even on job applications, you can usually write that your SSN "will be provided" during an interview.

Some states use your SSN as your driver's license number. If this is the case for you, do everything in your power to have it changed immediately.

2. Don't carry your SSN card (or the number itself)

There are very few times you'll need to pull out your SSN. Job applications, taxes, and major financial transactions are the only time you'll really need it. That said, why is it sitting in your wallet? If you want to prevent identity theft, don't carry the card unless you know you're going to need it. Otherwise, it's just sitting there waiting to be lost, stolen, or -- in some cases -- memorized.

3. Remove your SSN from your insurance card

Many medicare or insurance cards contain your SSN, and unlike your SSN, this is a card you may actually need from time to time. A good solution is to carry the card the first time you visit a health care provider, and then make a photocopy of it (they will usually make one for themselves and are often happy to make one for you too). Then carry the photocopy of the card -- with the last four digits of your SSN cut or blacked out.

Follow these tips to prevent identity theft with your SSN.

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