How to Protect Your Social Security Number

Today we have some advice from the Privacy & Security Team at Firefox.

Did you know that with your name and Social Security Number (SSN), an identity thief can open new credit and bank accounts, rent an apartment, or even get a job?  Your SSN is confidential because it is the key to a lot of your personal information.  A thief can use it to get even more information about you.

One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself is to be very careful about sharing it, even when it is requested on a form. Always ask why your number is needed, how it will be used and what will happen if you refuse. The answers to these questions can help you lower your risk and decide when to provide Social Security number.  There is no law that prevents a business from asking for your SSN, but quite often, they don’t need it and you can choose not to provide it.

Additionally, experts recommend keeping your Social Security card in a safe place at home – don’t routinely carry it in your wallet.  Never respond to phone or email requests for your number – always make sure you’ve initiated the interaction.  Shred discarded documents.  And if you suspect a problem, report it and get help.

For more tips on protecting your SSN and what to do if you suspect it’s being misused, visit the official website of the Social Security Administration.