What Information Will You Share?
Be careful when you give out personal information. Before entering information into any record-keeping agreement, you must decide if the information trade-off is worth the services received in return.
Ask yourself the following questions?
It is especially important to be careful with your social security number. Only give it out when you know it is required (such as for tax forms, employment records, and most banking, stock and property transactions). If your social security number is requested by a government agency, look for the Privacy Act notice (usually on the bottom of the form you fill out). This will tell you if your number is required, what will be done with it, and what happens if you refuse to provide it.
There is no law that prevents businesses from requesting your social security number. Keep in mind that your credit report, bank account and other financial records are usually linked to you social security number. If your number falls into the hands of the wrong person, you could be the victim of credit or banking fraud or idenity theft. Ask if you can use an alternate number. You may need to be assertive and persistent.
Do not have your social security number printed on your checks. It is convenient, but it is easily available to persons who may want to fraudulently gain access to your bank and credit card accounts. You will also want to choose a random number instead of your social security number for your drivers license. If you already have your social security number on your license get it changed when you renew your license.
Be careful with credit cards also. You can show your credit card on request, but do not let merchants write the account number on your check.
Check your billing statements and bank statements regularly to see if there are any problems. Take care to destroy these statements rather than just throwing them out to cut down on the chance your information will get in the wrong hands.