The Social Security Number; as much as it is an important element these days, has tons of myths associated with it. When was the last time you gave your SSN to someone in public? Maybe you went over to the dentist’s. Seeing to the customary tradition, doctors/ dentists hand out a novel of a form to be filled out.
Name, Date of Birth, yadda yada yada…. Ahaaa, there’s a field for social security number. But the question is whether you are required to fill in your SSN info or not. Read on…
- Do you need to fill the SSN area of leave it empty?
- Does the doctor really need your Social Security Number?
I am frank with my doctor. Without hesitation I asked if my SSN was really needed. He rubbed his noggin and said, “Well, I don’t really know why SSN is asked for in the form. I guess it is there because doctors have always followed a tradition…”
Truth be told, doctors and several authorities ask for your SSN not because it is needed; they ask for it as a gesture of assurance. What if you end up dying at the doctor’s? Certainly, in this case, the authorities will need your SSN to contact your next of kin/ family members to ask them for balance payment. Nope, they are not worried about anything else, other than asking your relatives to choke up the bill.
When NOT to Give Your SSN – Saying “No” is Your Right:
The next time someone asks for your Social Security Number, it doesn’t mean that he/she really “needs” it. According to the FBI reports, hackers stole SSNs of more than 36,000 individuals. The victims ranged over average U.S. citizens and high profile celebrities. What’s even worse is the fact the recently, a group of hackers published SSN and bank related information of JayZ, Michelle Obama and Joe Biden.
The National already covered the Michelle Obama account hack report.
This sensitive data is used in a number of online cyber-attack campaigns. Since security has become a huge issue today, the importance of SSN can never be overemphasized. Make sure you are sharing your Social Security Number when it is truly required:
Fake Phone Calls and Emails asking for SSN:
Email scams have become very common. It is not likely that you will fall victim to social security number scam campaigns via some nomad email in your inbox. But if you are a troglodyte who hasn’t learned from others’ mistakes, you will undoubtedly repeat the same.
Never encourage shady email senders through any kind of response. Or better yet, don’t reply them. Mark such emails as spam and do not give your SSN at any cost. Same formula applies to sales reps and so called companies that call you for SSN info.
Public schools and private hospitals don’t really need your SSN. If an emergency is in order, they know how to contact you through utility bills, email addresses, phone calls and etc. It will be an overkill to give them your social security details.
In many incidents, exploiters know people who will sell your SSN info for a small amount of money. Don’t let it happen.
Summer Camps, Leisure Clubs and Etc.:
For the reasons stated above, a social security number is to be kept safe even when you go out kayaking or a trip to Transylvania. Especially in minors’ case, Summer Camp authorities need their birth certificate to confirm a few details. Give them what they need but do not leave the documents, trusting the sole responsibility of such authorities.
Sometimes if a payment is in order, pay the concerned individual in cash, through credit card or debit card. In this case, they will not need your SSN for further processing.
Non Profit Organizations and Random Street Lurkers:
NGOs are a great past time activity for individuals such as you. Maybe you volunteered for an internship or just out of mere spirit to help mankind, you signed up. Same goes for your next encounter with a cellphone company’s salesperson that you are most likely to meet in a street.
During such circumstances, do not give your social security number unless and until it is really needed by the opposite party? How to make sure of that? Well, it is your right to confirm that the salesperson is representing a credible company. You can ask the gentleman for his phone number and name to run background checks.
NGOs are also like any other organization that may or may not need your SSN. Most of the times, these companies are running on an autopilot mode. In other words, if you are routinely following their protocols, no one will be bringing up your SSN related issues anytime soon. Once you have realized how often you spill social security number details, you will be surprised.
If you have time to think it all over, sit down and take a break. Make a list of places within your vicinity and on the other internet; the ones that ask for SSN. This will help you avoid scammers for years to come. Perhaps it is not too late to make a change in your habits.