Students enrolled in the “Payroll Accounting” class at Rasmussen College’s Eagan campus recently created a top 10 list of tips to protect your social security number.
The topic was part of the classroom curriculum and—given the recent spate of security breaches at Target and P.F. Chang’s—particularly timely.
“In the age of identity theft, protecting one’s social security number is critical to keeping personal information secure,” said Kari Grittner, accounting program coordinator for Minnesota.
The social security number (SSN) assigned to a person shortly after birth is an individual identification number that is unique to that person alone. SSNs are used to file taxes, manage bank and retirement accounts or start a new job. Due to the nature of information tied to one’s SSN, it should be protected and managed to make sure no one else is using it inappropriately.
Every time a SSN is used on a document, it leaves an information trail about the user. One of the most common scams today is the kind in which a SSN is requested over the phone by parties with whom there is no existing relationship.
In an effort to combat these scammers, the Eagan class offers these 10 best practices for protecting your SSN:
- Don’t carry the card on you, instead memorize the number
- Keep the original card in a fireproof safe
- Never give the number over the phone
- Don’t use the last four digits as a password
- When your SSN is requested, ask why it’s needed
- Get a copy of a credit bureau report each year
- Don’t put it on work applications; supply the number after hiring
- Destroy paperwork with your SSN number on it
- Don’t share it with anyone
- Never store the SSN on an unprotected computer
To learn more about protecting yourself, check out this infographic on cyber fraud. With reports of high profile data breaches saturating the news recently, you can learn about the tricky tactics used by today’s cybercriminals and how you can avoid becoming their next target.