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What To Do If You Give Out Social Security Number

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When NOT to Give Out Your Social Security Number

If you think youve been victimized after experiencing a lost or stolen Social Security card, or your Social Security number has been exposed by a data breach, we can help you take the steps to protect what matters most. IdentityForce can help monitor your identity and credit while providing you with the latest news and information in identity theft protection. Our Smart SSN Tracker alerts you if an unfamiliar name, alias, or address is associated with your SSN, and our experts will be there to assist you every step of the way. IdentityForces Identity Vault provides online encrypted storage for your important PII including SSNs, credit cards, financial account information and birth dates, along with other important documents. Access to online and mobile digital organization and storage of digital copies of important legal and personal documents, medical records, and other items.

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**Originally published July 11, 2017. Updated April 14, 2021.**

Airline Ticketing And Joining Frequent Flyer Programs

You aren’t being granted a license to fly: You’re being given a ticket and, perhaps, some rewards points. If an airline wants confirmation of your identity, a passport or a copy of your birth certificate should suffice. A Social Security number shouldn’t be required for cocktails in the captain’s lounge.

Protect Your Childs Social Security Number

And dont forget about your childs Social Security number. Child identity theft is a huge concern!

  • Extend your identity theft protection to include the SSNs of your children. Teach them not to give their number out.
  • See if the doctors office will take just the insurance account number when handling your childs healthcare.
  • Ask how schools are securing your childs SSN.

Today, your Social Security number is integral to proving your identity. That makes it essential to use it wisely, store it properly, and keep it away from anyone who would abuse it. Having an identity theft protection service that monitors for suspicious activity and helps resolve any issues is important to keep you and your family protected. Learn more about identity theft protection.

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At The Doctors Office

Patient forms from your doctor may request your SSN, but its not necessary to provide it. It is your insurance policy number your insurance company needs in order to bill you and submit payments. The IRS says you need to give your doctor your SSN if you have Medicare or other federally sponsored health care, but in all other cases, you dont.

When You Don’t Have To Provide Your Sin


Some private-sector organizations may ask for your SIN. This practice is strongly discouraged, but it is not illegal.

Here are examples of when you don’t have to give your SIN:

  • proving your identity
  • completing a job application before you get the job
  • completing an application to rent a property
  • negotiating a lease with a landlord
  • completing a credit card application
  • cashing a cheque
  • applying to a university or college

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Can I Change My Social Security Number

If your Social Security number has been put to nefarious use, you can try to have it changed. The Social Security Administration can change your social security number only if:

  • Sequential numbers assigned to members of the same family are causing problems.
  • More than one person is assigned or using the same number.
  • A victim of identity theft continues to be disadvantaged by using the original number.
  • There is a situation of harassment, abuse, or life endangerment or
  • An individual has religious or cultural objections to certain numbers or digits in the original number.

Youll need to do the following to qualify:

  • Apply in person at a Social Security office.
  • Provide a statement explaining the reasons for needing a new number.
  • Provide current, credible, third-party evidence documenting the reasons for needing a new number.
  • Provide original documents establishing U.S. citizenship or work-authorized immigration status, age, identity, and evidence of a legal name change, if appropriate.

Even then, notes Adam Levin, co-founder of and author of Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves, it can be difficult if not downright impossible to get a new number. If you do qualify, you may want to carefully consider the impact of making a switch. In many cases, employment information and medical records are associated with your former Social Security number.

When You Have To List Your Social Security Number

If giving your Social Security number is a required field on an online application, leaving the answer blank may not be an option. Before filling in your Social Security number, make sure you are on the companys legitimate site. If you are applying for the job through a job search site, consider researching or calling the company before applying to confirm that the posting is legitimate.

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What If A Stranger Has My Ssn

If you know your Social Security number has been compromised, you should do a credit freeze, Levin said. let consumers deny potential creditors access to their credit reports, and, as such, prevent new accounts from being taken out in their name, especially when their credit is frozen at each major credit reporting agency.

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Of course, a credit freeze will also make it harder to take out new lines of credit. You would have to thaw your report and then refreeze it before applying for a loan. Levin said you can lessen the hassle by asking a prospective creditor what bureau they use to check credit. If theres only one, youll just have to thaw your report with that bureau.

If youre hesitant to freeze your reports, at the very least, you should keep a close eye on your credit. You can sign up for or fraud alerts with each bureau, and you can check your credit yourself. Signs your identity has been stolen include unfamiliar addresses and accounts, and a sudden drop in your credit score.

What Should I Do If My Ssn Has Been Stolen Or Being Used Without My Consent

Four times you shouldnt give out your Social Security number

Identity theft is alarming, especially that it can happen with just the last 4 digits of SSN and DOB. Now, your next question could be, how do you put an alert on your social security number that has been stolen?

When you receive suspicious notices, alerts, billings, or notice peculiar happenings, you need to do the following immediately:

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What Can A Scammer Do With The Last 4 Digits Of Your Social Security Number

In this day and age of information overload via many information channels, including social media platforms, many people are unaware or naive about the kinds of information that should be shown to the public and those that must remain private. Information like your Social Security Number and Date of Birth may seem harmless, but you will find out this is not so.

And heres the big question, what can a scammer do with the last 4 digits of my social security number? The short answer is A LOT. And most of it is not good for you.

In 2013, news broke out that hackers stole social security numbers from well-known celebrities, including Michelle Obama, who was then the First Lady of the United States. This scenario goes without saying that if hackers can hack Michelle Obamas SSN, they can do it a lot easier to the average American.

Moreover, a 2017 study revealed stolen SSNs are more prevalent than stolen credit cards. SSN breaches accounted for 35 percent while credit card fraud was only at 30 percent. Aside from that, the common victims of SSN theft are the very young and very old.

Since children arent aware of their SSN, scammers use this opportunity to commit an almost foolproof SSN fraud. If you have a child with SSN, monitor it regularly to detect discrepancies or malicious activities.

Also, the elderly, due to their old age, are prone to scammers as well because some old people can be easily swayed by sweet talk or pretentious calls.

What Happens If Someone Has My Credit Card Number

If someone has access to your credit card or debit card number, it is possible for the person to use it to make purchases from your card. While some banks require multi-step authentication, there are other systems where these additional security measures are not required so purchases can go through.

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Is It Legal For A Business To Ask For My Ssn

You arent legally required to provide your SSN to businesses unless one of the following is true: Youll be engaging in a transaction that requires notification to the Internal Revenue Service or Youre initiating a financial transaction subject to federal Customer Identification Program rules.

You Got A Sextortion Email

Do you really have to give out your Social Security number?

Don’t believe it. There are few things in this life that I will claim to know for certain, but this is one: Nobody has secretly recorded you watching pornography over your webcam. I mean it. They haven’t. And they’re not contacting your spouse about it.

If you get an email asserting that somebody has done this — even if it has your email address and password in the subject line — it’s a scam. Criminals get your passwords and other private information from darkweb fire sales of personal information. This information can’t really be used for much, other than to convince you that they somehow know who you are.

If you already paid money to the person on the other end of one of these emails, contact your bank to attempt to reverse the transaction.

You can report this to the FBI or local police as well, and while it is helpful for their ability to track these types of crimes, there is little they can do to get your money back. Just be aware that billions of these emails are hitting inboxes daily and there’s no need to panic.

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During A Job Interview

If you’re hired for a job or at least in the last few stages of the hiring process your employer will request your Social Security number so they can do a background check. This is an appropriate time to provide it to them. Any requests beforehand, like on your application, are not mandatory and your chances of getting that job shouldn’t be hurt by withholding your SSN.

Signing Up For Children’s Camps

Levin notes that the Social Security number typically only appears as a space on an application. He also notes that you are well within your rights to leave that space blank. In the case of children’s camps, Levin says parents should always leave the Social Security number space blank or, if pressed, offer a birth certificate, driver’s license or other forms of identification instead. “There are other identifiers, such as a driver’s license or account number, that maybe used instead,” Levin says. “Fight to use them.”

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Apply For A New Ssn As A Last Resort

If you believe youve done everything you can and someone is still using your SSN, you may need to request a new number from the SSA. If you decide to apply for a new number, you will need to prove your identity, age, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status. You will also need to provide evidence that someone is using your old number. The SSA booklet Your Social Security Number and Card explains the application process.

Bear in mind that a new SSN may not solve all your problems. Think about all the government agencies, banks, credit reporting companies, and others that already have and use your old number.

Once you receive a new SSN, do not use your old number again. Make sure your new number is reported to all agencies that will need it and that those agencies know you no longer use your old number.

Applying For A New Number Or Replacement Card

Beware giving out your social security number, even at the doctor’s office

The SSA may assign a new Social Security number to you if you are being harassed, abused, or are in grave danger when using the original number, or if you can prove that someone has stolen your number and is using it. You must provide evidence that the number is being misused, and that the misuse is causing you significant continuing harm.

If you apply for a new Social Security number, you must prove

  • your age
  • your citizenship or lawful immigration status
  • your identity

Getting a new Social Security number probably wont resolve all the problems related to the theft of your identity. Government agencies and some businesses may keep records under your original Social Security number. In addition, because credit reporting companies use Social Security numbers and other personal information to identify a persons credit file, using a new number doesnt guarantee a fresh start. But by being careful with your personal information and monitoring credit reports for fraudulent activity, you can limit the misuse.

The SSA lets you apply for an original Social Security number or a replacement Social Security card for free. The application form and information about the supporting documents you need to apply are available online. The form takes just a few minutes to complete. But that hasnt stopped some websites from claiming that the process is complicated, confusing, and time-consuming, and offering to do it for you for a fee.

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When You’re Registering A Child For School

To enroll your child in public school, you’ll generally need to prove that you live where you say you do, and to that end, you’ll need to supply documents like utility bills and a driver’s license that list your address. Your Social Security number, though, should not be on the list of necessary identification items to supply.

The same holds true when you’re applying for college, or when a child of yours is doing the same. The only time your Social Security number will come into play is if you’re applying for financial aid, but if you aren’t, you shouldn’t have to share it.

You Put An Account Number Into A Dummy Website

Some phishing emails or fraudulent URLs are created to look so convincingly like your bank’s, it is easy to mistakenly enter your username and password or, if they ask for it, your checking or savings account number. Other websites are made to emulate popular e-commerce or retail websites, tricking you into entering your credit card details.

If you’ve given away any of these numbers, call your bank immediately and describe the error in detail. Your bank should be able to read back any charges have been made fraudulently and connect you to the right department to help freeze or suspend the accounts that may have been comrpomised. You can typically find the fraud department directly by using the fraud services number on the back of your credit card, or on the bank’s website.

If fraudulent charges have been made, you may have to fill out a paper report, and any reimbursement may take time, typically a bit longer for debit cards than for credit cards. Here’s a version of one of these forms, used by Inova Federal Credit Union. A banker may call you to ask follow-up questions.

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How Can Scammers Use Your Ssn

Your SSN is a powerful nine-digit number for an American citizen. With an SSN, you can enroll in medical insurance, secure retirement funds, open financial accounts, and apply to various public and private services.

While revealing this information to trusted individuals is safe, giving it to scammers puts you at the gravest disadvantage. With your SSN, scammers can buy and sell things under your name.

And much worse, they can use it to apply for loans and credit cards under your name.

You might wonder, But hey, my SSN is a nine-digit number. Knowing the last four digits and my date of birth wont matter anyway. So, why should I worry about it? Again, the short answer is you should worry about it a lot.

Why? Its because scammers only need the last 4 digits of SSN and DOB to commit fraud. They can apply for loans, buy things, and even get medical benefits from you.

Even with just the last four digits, scammers can use complex computer algorithms to guess the rest of your SSN.

Avoiding Social Security Fraud: Leave Your Social Security Card At Home

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Once you receive your replacement Social Security card, lock it away in a safe place until you absolutely need it. Experts advise to avoid carrying your card around on a regular basis partly because of the risk of losing it again, and partly because you really dont need to present your Social Security card on a regular basis. In fact, one Social Security expert says that Social Security cards are irrelevant in the digital age, and the real priority should be targeted at fraud protection.

Its extremely rare that you need your actual Social Security card, says Steven J.J. Weisman, Esq., an Amherst, Massachusetts-based college professor whose expertise is in investigating white-collar crime. A Social Security number is the most important piece of information that a criminal can use to make you a victim of identity theft so you shouldn’t carry it with you in your wallet, anyway.

But if you do lose your card, Weisman recommends taking direct action to protecting the cardholder from financial fraud.

Because of the danger of identity theft if your Social Security card is lost, you should put a credit freeze on your credit reports at each of the three major credit reporting agencies in order to prevent someone from leveraging the Social Security number into accessing your credit or establishing accounts in your name, he says.

Other data security experts agree, citing the high risk of losing a card if you cart it around in your wallet or pocketbook.

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