Few documents are as precious as our Social Security cards, which is why keeping it safe and private is so important. Particularly because these nine-digit are some of the biggest targets for identity theft–with an SSN, thieves can apply for loans, open lines of credit or file phony tax returns under your name and leave you with the bill.
According to the Social Security Administration, here are some of the most common scenarios where social security identity theft can occur:
- Thieves searching through your mail for bank and credit statements, tax papers and checks, all of which contain your SSN
- Sending fraudulent emails or phone calls where they pose as a legitimate source looking for your personal information (e.g. an email that purports to be sent from the IRS, asking you to resubmit your tax information)
- Sifting through a home or business' trash for papers containing personal identification information
- Social security cards obtained through stolen wallets or purses
Considering the amount of times you will have to use your SSN in life—from college applications to loans and mortgages—one of the most proactive measures you can take is to simply memorize the number and keep your social security card locked somewhere secure.
You should also be wary of who you share your SSN with. There are a few places that ask for your Social Security Number, but don’t actually need it like your doctor’s office.
If you're concerned about identity theft and that your SSN may fall into the wrong hands, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. By monitoring your credit files for certain activity, we can help you detect fraud using your SSN. Contact Identity Guard today!