First of all, you need to learn to protect your social security card and number as if it was cash. Because to a fraudster, IT IS CASH.

Never, repeat, NEVER give out your social security number to a telemarketer, a door-to-door salesman or anybody else you do not know. You are not required to provide the number to anybody, however sometimes it is just easier. USE YOUR OWN BEST JUDGMENT. (For instance, sometimes the utility company wants it, and as long as YOU made the call to THEM, go ahead if they need it to connect services and there is no alternative.)

Just remember that the more places that have your identifying information, the more places exist where somebody can steal that information.

Before you ever give out your number, ask the following questions:


  • Why do they need your number?
  • How will they use it?
  • What law requires that you give your number to them?
  • What happens if you refuse?
  • Then decide if it makes sense to give out your number.


If you ever lose your social security card, or if you believe that your social security number may have fallen into the wrong hands, call the Social Security's Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. You also want to make a report to the Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft Hotline, 1-877-IDTHEFT.

You're not done yet. Now call the three major credit bureaus, tell them you're an identity theft victim and ask them to place a fraud alert on your records. The Credit bureaus are:


        Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
        Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
        Experian: 1-888-397-3742

Finally, take a look at the Social Security Administrations webpage on Identity Theft.


It's always a good idea to pull your own credit report once or twice a year. They are not too terribly hard to read, and what you are really looking for is if anything has transpired on that report that you are unaware of. Have any accounts been opened in your name and number that you didn't open? Are other names and addresses showing up under your social security number?

Anything out of the ordinary should be reported to the fraud hotline.

Good luck. And don't forget to always FIGHT FRAUD AMERICA.