The six times it’s necessary to give out your social security number

Did you know that you can ask certain businesses for alternative ways of identifying you?

A 9-digit Social Security number is specific to each U.S. citizen or eligible U.S. resident. The government uses it to track lifetime wages determining your social security income (SSI) benefits later in life. Your social security number allows you to open accounts, obtain credit, and apply for employment. However, many people mistakenly give out their social security number when it’s unnecessary.

Here are six times you must give out your social security number:

  1. Financial institutions: You must provide your full social security number when opening an account. This allows financial institutions to report interest made throughout the year to the IRS.
  2. Income tax records: The IRS uses your social security number to track taxes paid to the government from you and your employer.
  3. Credit bureau: The credit bureaus track your credit usage and history using your social security number. This helps eliminate the confusion of individuals with the same name.
  4. Loan applications: You must provide your full social security number when applying for credit. This allows the lender to pull your credit from the credit bureaus to determine your credit worthiness.
  5. Employers: When accepting a job position, you must provide your employer with your social security number. This ensures the employer is paying their portion and sending your taxes to the government. Some organizations require a credit check for employment.
  6. College Records: Colleges use your social security number to accurately identify you and match your confidential financial aid records. Using your social security number also ensures no confusion if there are students with the same name.

Remember that businesses and organizations (not included in the list above) will often ask you for your social security number so they can identify you. Don’t be afraid to ask them to provide an alternative way to identify you. However, if you must provide your social security number (such as one of the six examples above), write it down; you never know who may be listening. If it’s impossible to write it down, notice who is around and say it as low as possible. Also, never give out your social security number in response to an email, text message, or phone call. Remember that financial institutions do not call or email their members asking for personal information such as your social security number or other data they already have on file. At New Dimensions FCU, we take every step to ensure your social security number is safe and out of the hands of individuals that would use it for financial gain.