Identity thieves are becoming more clever with how and where they collect sensitive information on you. All they need is one piece of information like a birth date, driver’s license number, or mother’s maiden name to figure out the rest and open up new credit accounts under your identity. However, the Holy Grail for identity theft is the Social Security number. If they can get their hands on that, then they have the keys to the kingdom. You may think you’re keeping your Social Security number safe by keeping it at home, but it can actually hide in a lot of places you may never have guessed.
Places Where Social Security Numbers May Hide
Intrepid thieves know where to look for hidden Social Security numbers. Be one step ahead of their identity theft game by knowing where your own personally identifiable information may lurk so you can thwart them before they steal it.
1. Paycheck Stubs — Some companies (not all, but some) put Social Security numbers on paycheck stubs as identifiers. Always check your stub to see if your number is on it. If it is, shred it before throwing it away (if you need to make a copy of the stub, do that first and then lock the copy away in a secure place).
2. Tax Returns — You’ve got to include your Social Security number on tax returns and you’ve got to keep copies. Do yourself a favor by keeping your copies secure and by filing through the mail. There have been too many instances of electronically filed tax returns finding their way into public view on the Internet that have resulted in identity theft to risk it.
3. Court Documents — Any kind of court document may have your Social Security number on it. Many states make these documents available for public viewing. The majority that do this have laws requiring Social Security numbers to be redacted. However, Social Security numbers are sometimes missed and end up on public view anyway. Be vigilant about checking online for any court documents you may have filed and if you see your Social Security number is on public view, make sure you inform the court and request it be removed.
Where else have you seen a social security number hide?