Every United States citizen is assigned a Social Security number after they are born. This number is often used to confirm your identity on important documents and financial transactions. You must keep this important piece of information protected at all times if you want to avoid getting your identity stolen. These are the five best ways to protect your Social Security number.
Put Card in a Safe
The Social Security card is a government-issued document that displays your name and Social Security number. Since this small card contains important information, it needs to be kept in a safe place at all times. You should never carry around this card in your purse or wallet. This is just inviting bad things to happen. Your Social Security number is only nine digits, so it should not be too hard to memorize. Remembering the number will let you keep the card locked up at home at all times.
Shred Personal Documents
There will be times when you receive documents and mail that have your Social Security number on them. You may be tempted to discard these papers in the trash, but this is a huge mistake. Every document that contains sensitive personal information needs to be shredded before going into the trash. Identity thieves are known for going through garbage cans looking for something valuable. Shredding the documents will make it impossible to obtain your information.
Use an Identity Theft Protection Service
You can be very meticulous about protecting your personal information, but it is still wise to rely on some expert help. An identity theft protection service will constantly be on the lookout to ensure your information does not get in the wrong hands. They provide Social Security number monitoring to alert you if your information ends up on the dark web. The service will also instantly alert you when a new account is opened up on your credit report.
Monitor Your Financial Accounts
The main goal of every identity thief is to quickly make some money before you notice something is wrong. If you notice an issue early, then you will limit the negative impact of the theft. This is why it is important to constantly monitor your financial information. The bank will alert you if a large purchase is made, but they will likely overlook a few small purchases or withdrawals. You can quickly catch this suspicious activity by looking at your accounts every day. It is also recommended that you regularly check your credit report for foul play.
Be Very Cautious
An important tip to remember is to always be overly cautious when dealing with your Social Security number. Never save or send the number on an electronic device that can easily be hacked. Do not tell the number to your friends or family. You should also only give your Social Security number to a trusted institution when absolutely necessary. Ask questions about their need for the number and try to see if they will take another form of identification. For more information on the above, you can check out places like IDShield.