Chapter 3 – Protect Your Social Security Card

Crime No. 1 – never carry your Social Security Card

You should never carry your Social Security Card unless you specifically need it that day.

Why do people insist on carrying their social security card with them everywhere they go. In a typical year you need your card Zero, Nada, Zilch times. Ok, maybe once a year, but not the other 364 days.

Really, you ask? Ok, lets look at the world through your eyes.

If you are applying for a job do you need your card?
No! You do need it when you get hired, but not to apply.

Do you need the card to cash a check at a bank?
No! Open an account maybe, but seldom to put money in the account or take money out of the account.

Do you need your card as a second ID?
No. Most places do not consider a social security card as a valid ID. Some may but very, very few.

Do you need your card to take a taxi or train to work?
Not the last time I checked.

Do you need your card for a Credit Card Purchase? Do you need it to rent a car, stay in a motel room, buy lunch, go to the movies? No, No, No, No, and, you guessed it – No.

Do you need your card to apply for a car or furniture loan?
No. They ask for your number then they check to see if the information matches what is on file at the Credit Bureaus. Even if you do need it for these loans, do you apply for one everyday? {By the way, if you do apply for these loans everyday, you have a separate problem from Identity Theft.}

Do you need it to file your taxes? No. You send copies of wages, documentation, & deductions, but no copy of your card.

Do you need it every day you walk out of your home to go to work or even for your weekly shopping? NO!

Ask yourself this question: Just when do you need your card? Ask your friends. Ask Santa Claus. Ask who ever you want to ask to convince yourself – you do not need the card with you.

It is funny that many, especially older, people think they are required to carry their card with them at all times. Sort of like it is Nazi Germany and the police would walk up and say “Show me your Papers, Please” and you would pull out your social security card as proof that you were ok to be walking the streets or riding a train.
“Your papers, please”

Likely the worse IDs ever created was by the Department of Motor Vehicles using Social Security numbers as the Drivers License Number. And this happened in many states. Fortunately, the policy of using the Social Security numbers on Drivers Licenses is changing. Worse still are Drivers Licenses with the Social Security also printed on the card as extra information. Talk about a mine field waiting to blow up!

Unfortunately, the United States Military has only in the last couple of years stopped issuing the most damaging ID card ever invented – the Veterans Identification Card. The DVA issued millions of these cards with Name, Rank, Social Security Number and Service Branch. Newer cards contain a picture, name and a file number. Millions of the old cards, however, remain in circulation and in the pockets of our veterans.

Are you thinking this is all smoke but no real fire? Ok, consider this: In your wallet is your Drivers License – with your Name, Address and Signature. You are also carrying 8 to 10 credit cards. And, for your convenience, you also have your social security card. Maybe you also carry a telephone company calling card – which has your home telephone number on it. You also have extraneous forms of IDs. [See Crime #6 on page 32] As you walk through the mall, a thief steals your wallet. They wanted your cash, but now they have you.

With all the information you have just given them, they could call the credit card companies and give enough information to change the billing address for your credit card. They could, pretending to be you, also add themselves to the accounts and begin using them.

And since they now have your full Social Security Number, your Drivers License and your home phone, they can start opening accounts at stores all over town.

Two key questions credit card companies ask to validate the account holders are telephone numbers and the last four digits of the social security number on the account. If those two items are in your wallet, you have just exponentially increased the odds of being a victim of Identity Theft.

If you must carry your ID and your credit cards in the same wallet/purse, at least do not carry your social security card. As inconvenient as it may be, you really should carry IDs and credit cards separately and the social security card not at all. If you have a cell phone, do not carry a telephone calling card unless you really need one.