|Guard your SSN at all times|
At some point soon, you will visit a doctor’s office and be asked for your Social Security Number. It is your choice if you want to give it. Enterprises TV reviews some establishments and situations where it giving a Social Security Number is optional – not mandatory.
It seems like there is new report about hacking and identity theft every week in the news. This naturally makes the public uneasy about using credit and debit cards or in giving their Social Security Number to any type of business or physician office. A person’s identity is their biggest asset. What happens if that identity is stolen by giving out the one unique identifier – the SSN? Instead of just jotting the full number down or repeating it for a clerk in the office, ask questions.
- Who needs to know my SSN?
- Why do you need my SSN?
- Who will have access to my SSN?
- What steps of protection does my SSN have in your database and in your paper filing system?
- Who does this office share my personal information with?
The Enterprises TV show suggests a simple reply for those who ask for a SSN: Just say no. Or at the very least, offer the last four digits of the SSN. I did this once on a job application and was promptly told they needed the entire number. I declined to give it. If the establishment insists on having your SSN, offer a drivers license number instead.
Below are some other places where no one in the office needs your SSN for any reason:
Any request for the SSN in email or on a phone call.
- Public schools or events related to them.
- Store loyalty programs
- Doctors’ offices
Never give your Social Security Number out without asking why it is needed. This number should be guarded by its owner at all times.