Thursday, October 29, 2015
Safeguarding your Social Security number
From the doctor’s office to schools, consumers are constantly being asked for their Social Security numbers.
Every time that all-important number is put out there, it opens the door to identity theft.
So, what should you do when you’re asked to divulge those confidential nine digits?
The short answer: It depends.
The Social Security Administration says it’s important to be careful about sharing your number, even when you are asked for it. The SSA recommends asking these three questions to help you decide whether to give out your number:
“Follow your instincts. If you ever have any concerns about giving out your information, make sure you’re asking these questions. And if you still don’t feel comfortable, don’t provide it,” says Jill Gogel, fraud/BSA compliance specialist at Dupaco. “They should be able to provide you honest answers to these questions.”
At Dupaco, for instance, prospective members are asked to provide their Social Security number so the credit union can check their credit and determine whether they qualify for an account. Dupaco also needs members’ Social Security numbers for tax-reporting purposes.
But even when you have to disclose your Social Security number, Gogel says there are ways to keep the identifier secure:
By Emily Kittle