When To Provide Your Ssn
Not everyone who requests your SSN actually needs it. Generally speaking, if an entity reports information about you to the Internal Revenue Service , you probably have to supply your SSN. This includes your employer, banks/lenders, the U.S. Treasury for savings bonds, and state unemployment insurance and workers compensation offices.
Although other institutions and businesses have the right to ask for your number, they often dont need it, and you arent legally required to provide it.
As of Jan. 1, 2020, Medicare no longer uses Social Security numbers for identification. Instead, Medicare recipients receive a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier a unique series of numbers and letters that they should also try to protect from identity thieves.
Q It It Safe To Give My Social Security Number Online To Receive My Credit Report From The Three Credit Bureaus Security Concerned
A. Youre smart to want to protect your Social Security number, especially in the wake of all these data breaches.
But yes, if youre talking about getting your for free from AnnualCreditReport.com, its generally safe. And its required.
In its Frequent Asked Questions section, the site says, The sites security protocols and measures protect the personal information you provide. You must enter your Social Security Number to receive a free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com.
If youre really not comfortable, there are other ways to get your free reports
You can do it by phone. Call 322-8228. Youll still have to go through a verification process over the phone, and then your report will be mailed to you within 15 days.
If you want to do it by mail, you can Then you can mail the form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Then your report will be mailed to you within 15 days.
If you follow the online process, though, you will get your credit reports immediately.
Email your questions to
S To Take If You Think Youve Been Scammed
The Social Security Administration publishes a useful booklet called “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number.” In addition to basic protection tips, it provides information about what you should do if you believe your identity and SSN have been stolen or compromised.
The Social Security Administration closed all of its offices for in-person services in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its online services, however, remain available.
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Contact The Internal Revenue Service
You may also want to contact the Internal Revenue Service if you suspect an identity thief has filed a tax return in your name to get a refund. The IRS should also be on your list of contacts if you suspect someone is using your number for work purposes. Otherwise, the IRS could think you failed to report income when you file your own tax return. Use the IRS Identity Theft Central website or call 800-908-4490.
Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries
You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.
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Is It Safe To Give Your Ssn Online
According to Denis Kelly, president of IDCuffs.com, an identity theft protection organization, “in most cases, it is asked without a genuine business purpose, and in most cases, it is sought without a valid necessity.” He continues, “giving out your Social Security number online is dangerous because it makes it easier for scammers to steal your identity.”
Giving out your SSN online can open you up to fraud. If a criminal gets your name, birth date, address, and SSN, they can create hundreds of dollars in fraudulent credits cards or get involved with other crimes where the police can track them down more easily. These criminals often use technology to their advantage, so if you have an account at a site that collects sensitive information, don’t share that information online.
Identity theft is a huge problem, and one way people get caught up in it is by giving out their information online without thinking through the consequences. Before you give out any personal information online, make sure you’re working with a company that you trust. You should also check with your state’s attorney general website to see if there have been any recent lawsuits related to online privacy.
Places Where You Should Never Give Your Social Security Number
Every time you go to a new doctor or dentist and they give you a clipboard brimming with documents to fill out and sign, notice how they always ask for your Social Security number? Do you dutifully give it up? Did you ever wonder if they really need it?
I once asked a doctor why he wanted it. His response: “I don’t really know. I guess it’s because we’ve always asked for it.”
Almost every day somebody asks for your Social Security Number and, like the Grand Marshal of a parade throwing rose petals or candy to the crowd, you probably give it up without giving it a second thought — because that’s what you’ve always done.
So, the next time someone asks you for your Social Security number, reflect on this: In December, the Army announced that hackers stole the Social Security numbers of 36,000 visitors to Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, including intelligence officers. Cyber activists took control of the CIA’s website. The private information, including some Social Security numbers, of celebrities and political leaders including FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were exposed.
The sensitive data of First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder, recently were posted on a website for the world to see.
Hackers even listened in on a phone call in which the FBI and Scotland Yard were discussing the criminal investigation against those very same hackers!
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How Do You Protect Yourself
The single best thing to do is to put a freeze on your credit files, which will prevent anyone from opening a new account. Its free to place a freeze and to lift it for your own needs. But you have to contact each of the three major credit bureaus individually, which you can do online. Cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs also suggests freezing the credit files maintained by a handful of smaller, specialized agencies. You should also check your credit score regularly, which is a good way to detect fraud after it happens.
, which typically carry a monthly fee, can also help reveal the work of identity thieves. They provide tools to prevent you from phishing and other forms of hacking combined with scanning services that look for your Social Security number or email address in places online where it doesnt belong.
T-Mobile is offering two years of McAfees monitoring service for free to anyone affected by the breach. It has set up a website suggesting more steps people can take to guard against fraud. Anyone with a smartphone would be wise to take them:
On the plus side, two-factor authentication is becoming the standard online, and thats improving security across the web. But too many sites encourage you to make that second factor a text message sent to your phone number, which encourages SIM swap fraud. Wherever possible, use an authentication app instead.
Ask Questions When They Ask For Your Social Security Number
There is no law that prevents businesses from asking for your SSN. And you may be denied service if you don’t give the number. If giving your SSN to a business doesn’t seem reasonable to you, ask if you can show another form of identification. Or ask if the business can use another number as your customer number.
Remember that some government agencies can require your SSN. These agencies include DMV, welfare offices, and tax agencies. Look for the required “disclosure” form. The form should state if giving the number is required or optional, how it will be used, and the agency’s legal authority to ask for it.1
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Other Steps To Take After Losing A Social Security Card
Here are other actions you should take when your Social Security card has been lost or stolen.
Step 1. Place a fraud alert You should place a fraud alert on your credit file to protect yourself from identity theft.
You can do this easily by calling one of the three major credit-reporting agencies , says Danielle Kunkle, vice president at Boomer Benefits, in Fort Worth, Texas. Once you request a fraud alert, the credit reporting agency is obligated to contact the other two agencies to notify them as well.
Heres the contact info for each agency.
- Equifax: 1-888-766-0008
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
A fraud alert offers several benefits.
Step 4. File a report with the FTC To further protect yourself from identity fraud, file a report with the Federal Trade Commission, Campbell says. The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from those whose identities have been stolen, she says.
You can complete the online complaint form here. Or call the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 with as many details as possible.
Be sure to save the reference number and a printed copy of your FTC Identify Theft Affidavit, Campbell says. You can use this document to file a police report or to counter false credit charges made in your name.
Quickness counts when your Social Security card is lost or stolen. Set matters right by notifying the appropriate agencies, protecting your credit, and keeping I.D. fraudsters at arms length by getting a new Social Security card as soon as possible.
What Is A Social Security Card
Your Social Security card is an important piece of identification. You’ll need one to get a job, collect Social Security, or receive other government benefits.
When you apply for a Social Security number , the Social Security Administration will assign you a nine-digit number. This is the same number that is printed on the Social Security card that SSA will issue you. If you change your name, you will need to get a corrected card.
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When You’re Visiting A Doctor
This one’s a bit of a gray area. It’s common for medical offices to ask for your Social Security number, but the reason they do so is to have a means of tracking you down if you fail to make good on an outstanding bill. Much of the time, you don’t need to provide a Social Security number to get medical care providing your insurance information will suffice. This holds true even if you’re on Medicare. In fact, Medicare recently replaced its old ID cards, which contained Social Security numbers, with new ones, to protect that very information. If a medical office insists that you must provide a Social Security number, push back. Ask why that number is needed, how it will be used, and what steps will be taken to keep it secure.
Should You Ever Enter Your Social Security Number Online
How to Keep Your Social Security Number Safe The Better Business Bureau warns customers not to submit their Social Security information online or give it out over the phone or in an email. Inquire whether alternative kinds of identification are acceptable, or if the last four digits of your Social Security number would suffice. If you do provide your number over the internet, make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company. They should have some kind of security measures in place to protect your data.
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There Are Only A Few Organizations Entitled To Collect Your Ssn
Barry Cohen, a former employee of the Social Security Administration, says there are only a few organizations that have the legitimate right to collect and use your Social Security number, mostly limited to the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
“While many organizations and companies request it and while it has become commonplace for many to collect and use it they are, in fact, unauthorized uses and therefore you should not be required to provide the number,” says Cohen. He says the SSN was never intended to be used as a national identification number. “True, law enforcement agencies will often use it. However, the Social Security Administration does not routinely provide the numbers to them.”
You may find yourself unable to get a credit card, home mortgage, or other loan without supplying your Social Security number, but in most other cases, there’s no legitimate reason for anyone to collect this information. If you’re uncomfortable with providing your SSN in any situation, know your rights and speak up.
When You’re Applying For A Job
Once you’re offered a job, you’ll need to give out your Social Security number in the course of the onboarding process. This way, your employer can verify your identity for wage-reporting purposes. And you want that to happen, because your Social Security retirement benefits will be based on your lifetime earnings, so any missing wages on your record could cause you to lose out financially later in life.
That said, there’s really no need to give out your Social Security number during the job application process. An employer might ask for it to verify that you’re eligible to be hired should the desire to make you an offer come to be, but in most cases, providing that number shouldn’t be mandatory.
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American Express Global Card Relationship
For existing American Express customers, the American Express Global Card Relationship program is a great option for discovering new credit cards. You can access information on available cards simply by logging into your active international Amex account.To qualify for the program you will need to provide the number for your existing international account. This account must be in good standing and have been active for at least three months prior to submitting an application for a new U.S. card.
Set Up Identity Theft Protection
There is no way to stop scammers and fraudsters from knowing your personal information once you give it away. And often, youll never be able to find out who has it. This is because scammers and hackers will often sell your personal information in bulk to numerous fraudsters over places such as the dark web.
However, you can still protect yourself even if fraudsters have your personal information.
The best way to protect yourself from identity theft crimes if by using a service like Identity Guard, which monitors your bank accounts, credit reports and more. They have protected over 47 Million people over 20+ years.
To further protect you in case youve already given out your personal info, youll get:
- A team monitoring the dark web for people selling your personal information, and alerting you if anything appears.
- Monitoring of your credit reports
- A personal case manager that can help you recover from any identity theft problems.
Youll even get a $1 million insurance policy and stolen funds reimbursement. This means that your financial situation will remain SAFE EVEN IF fraudsters have your personal information .
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How To Get A Credit Card Without A Social Security Number
The most common alternative to providing a social security number is to use an ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, instead. Most credit card issuers accepting card applications without SSNs will request this as an alternative, along with other documentation required to verify the identity of an applicant.
When A Random Caller Asks For It Over The Phone
Banks, companies, and government agencies generally won’t call you up out of the blue asking for your Social Security number. If you get an unsolicited call and you’re asked to provide that information, hang up the phone and do not, under any circumstances, comply. In fact, you should really report the number that called you to the Social Security Administration so that it can investigate and perhaps nip that scam in the bud.
You can’t afford to let your Social Security number fall into the wrong hands, so be sure to know when you should and shouldn’t give that information out. Furthermore, it’s a wise idea to memorize that number and store your Social Security card in a secure place, like a locked safe at home. Carrying that card around at all times only increases your chances of losing it or having it stolen, and since it’s not something you should be using on a daily basis, there’s no need to expose yourself to that risk.
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How To Check If Someone Is Using My Identity
Are you worried about another person using your identity? How will you know if you are a victim of identity theft? Check out these recommendations below.
- Look for warning signs such as not getting your bills, being chased by debt collectors for debt that is not yours, being billed for medical services you did not use, etc.
- Request for a copy of your credit report from the 3 credit bureaus and carefully check the entries. You can get a free copy of your credit report for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. If you see any charges or entries that are not yours or you did authorize, you can dispute these entries to be removed.
- Always check your credit card statement every billing cycle for inaccuracies or unfamiliar charges. If your bank allows you to view your credit card transactions online you may want to check it more regularly in case of fraudulent transactions. The earlier these are reported to your bank the easier it is to prevent further transactions and to ensure you are not responsible for the charges.
To see whether someone else is using your Social Security Number, Go to my Social Security page of the Social Security website to check your account for any inaccuracies. Through this webpage, you will be able to check whether you are a victim of employee-related identity fraud.
To further protect you in case youve already given out your personal info, youll get: