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Friday, April 20, 2007

How Do You Protect Your Social Security Number?

Fraud and identity theft is one of the biggest and most prevalent criminal acts today. In the context of Social Security, somebody might get access to your social security number to obtain credit, loans, telephone accounts and other goods. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives several complaints of identity theft everyday; unfortunately the Social Security Administration cannot do much as they cannot fix your credit record if somebody has misused your Social Security Number. However, the Social Security Administration has posted some tips from their website about how you can protect yourself from identity theft.

Since the biggest key to identity theft is obtaining somebody else's SSN, how you treat your SSN will greatly determine if you are at risk of being victimized. By all circumstances you should treat your SSN as confidential information, and never give it out unnecessarily. Keep your social security card in a safe place, and do not carry it unless you need to show it to a service provider or to an employer.

You should exercise utmost care about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse. Be assertive of your rights to privacy. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask them why your number is needed, how your number will be used, and what happens if you refuse to give it out. Do not hesitate in asking these questions; after all, it's your protection that's at stake.