Protect your social security number it is one of the single most important things you will ever do.
Your social security number is probably the single most important 9 digit number you will ever need to remember. In today’s day and age a social security number is the primary means of identification and verification for a person. It is because of this that social security numbers are so sought after by many con and scam artists.
Why would someone steal your social security number?
Someone who steals your social security number or card is probably going to use it for fraud. A social security thief can sell your information on the black-market, open loans in your name, buy houses and could even perform acts of terrorism while pretending to be you. An identity thief who has stolen or obtained your social security number can assume your identity.
How to prevent someone from stealing your social security number.
Do not carry your social security number or card in your wallet or purse. Your social security number should be kept in a locking fire proof safe or filing cabinet and left at home.
Be careful with who you show your social security card to. The only time you should need to show your social security card to someone is when you need to prove your identity. This could be to an employer, a notary, a financial institution, college, university or a government facility. However, you should only give your social security number to these parties if you are completely convinced that it is necessary and that your social security number will be protected. If necessary, ask how these agencies keep social security numbers and person identifiers secure.
Do not give your social security number to anyone over the phone, in an e-mail or by postal mail. If someone asks for your social security number over the phone, in an e-mail or in a letter they are probably trying to scam you. If you call a company and they ask for your social security number for verification purposes, give them the last four digits only. This is all they will need to verify your identity.
Shred your mail. Anything that has your name and address on it should be shredded. Use a criss-cross shredder for optimal results.
The internet is an excellent way for an identity theft to steal your information and social security number. Protect your information by verifying that you are on a secure site when providing any information on the internet. Keep your browser up to date with the latest version and security fixes. Unsafe browsers can comprise your online security and allow an identity thief access to your personal information. Also, invest in quality virus protection and keep it up to date. Hackers can install key-logging and tracing software that will record your ever move and keystroke on the computer.
When using the internet be sure to use strong passwords. Passwords should be at least 8 characters in length. They should be a combination of numbers, letters and special characters. Your password should look like a random sequence of characters to a hacker or identity thief. Microsoft has a password checker that will tell you what the strength of your password is. Never give your password to anyone. Many websites now have ‘remember me’ buttons and browsers can store password information for you. This information can be stolen by malware. It is best not to use these features in order to protect your privacy.
Be sure to place all of your personal information in a locking fireproof safe or filing cabinet. This should include any document that has your name and address on it or your social security number.
Identity Theft Protection and Insurance
No matter how many safeguards you put in place you could still become a victim of identity theft. It is a terrifying and overwhelming situation to go through. You may want to consider purchasing identity theft protection and insurance to protect yourself even further. There are a lot of companies that have decided to start offering this type of insurance. You may have even seen some of them being discussed on the news. Most of these companies guarantee their services and for as little as $10 a month. Identity theft protection and insurance will usually monitor your credit and alert you to new inquiries. They try to stop and prevent future pre-approved credit card offers. They will assist you in securing your financial and person data if your wallet or purse is ever stolen. Identity theft insurance will also assist you if your identity is ever stolen. The company should do everything they can to restore your name and credit.