Your social security number is an important part of your identity, and if it falls in wrong hands, then you might have to face some serious problems. It can be used to steal your identity and could have financial implications as well. It can be used to commit criminal acts in your name and carry out frauds.
The social security number is also used to assess the credit worthiness of a person before a lender extends a loan. Without a social security number that is backed by a clean history, you cannot get a loan at low rates.
However, many people are in a habit of giving their social security number for all kinds of reasons. The commercial world appears to have a practice of asking for social security numbers for everything, due to which most people do not hesitate in giving them. This is dangerous, as you can’t easily spot a crook who wants to misuse your social security number. You cannot stop giving out the number as then you would find it difficult to participate in any commercial activity. Therefore, you need to make a distinction between legitimate demands for your social security number and traps that are laid out for you.
You need to recognize which businesses genuinely need your social security number and refuse to give the number to others. Credit card companies or other creditors require the number for checking your credit history. Various government schemes will also ask for the number before you can get their benefits.
Even service providers would sometimes want to check your credibility and require your social security number. Usually, if you are paying for goods or services worth more than $10,000 by cash, you might have to give the number as the government likes to keep track of high value transactions.
In many other cases, you can refuse to provide your social security number even if the company insists on it. You can ask them why they need the number and if they are required by law to do so.
Sometimes automated systems wouldn’t allow you to proceed through a process unless you submit a social security number, In such cases, you can simply try cooking up a number as a last resort, but put two zeros in the middle numbers as that will ensure that you do not steal the identity of someone else.