To help prevent social security identity theft, you should guard your number as though it was cash. In many ways, with the continuing growth of identity theft, it is the same as cash.
Not surprising, printing your number on such items as driver licenses, which used to be a standard in most states, is now not allowed. However, social security identity theft incidents continue to grow. Year-over-year increases have shown that the more ways people come up with to safeguard their numbers, social security identity theft perpetrators come up with more ways to get them.
Dumpster diving and rooting through trash bags is still one of the most common methods of obtaining social security numbers, although with more people using the internet, believing it to be secure, crooks have found they can perpetuate social security identity theft easier, faster and cleaner.
Strictly Need-To-Know Basis
In order to deter social security identify theft disclose your number on a need-to-know basis only. For example, if you get a call from someone claiming to work at your bank and he just wants to verify information and asks for your social security number, ask them to tell you what number they have on file and you will verify its accuracy.
They may claim that by you giving them the number it will enable them to identify you as the account holder. Simply tell them that since they called you, they should have that information. Even when threatened with account closure, do not, under any circumstance, give your number to someone who initiated the call to you. A large number of social security identity theft victims fall prey to this scam on a daily basis.
Mail offers for credit cards and other products arrive in mailboxes daily. Most people may simply think they don’t need another card and toss them in the trash. This is how the low-tech thieves obtain their information. They may use this offer and request a credit card, in your name, and then go on a buying spree. To prevent social security identity theft using this method, it may pay to invest in a cheap paper shredder to destroy these types of offers.
Worst case scenario is that a perpetrator of social security identity theft could contact the social security administration and with this information in hand, could have your social security, or other benefits, sent to them instead of the rightful recipient.