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Home > Understanding Your Social Security Number

From opening a bank account to buying a car, your Social Security Number will be frequently asked from you. This nine digit account number, first created in 1936, was initially intended for use exclusively by the federal government to accurately record your earnings. However, over time the Social Security numbers were allowed to function as a general identification number in many situations.

The Social Security number has changed over the years and has been used in more than four hundred million sequences. It is divided into three parts: area number, group number and serial number. The area number consists of three digits representing the state in which the number was issued. The middle two digits referred to as the group number indicates the order in which the Social Security number was issued. It is used to break all the Social Security numbers with the same area number into smaller block to make the administration of the number easier. The last four digits (serial number) are randomly generated with the numbers ranging from 0001 through 9999.

Over the years, there have been growing concerns regarding the privacy and misuse of SSNs. As Social Security numbers play an incomparable role in identification and authentication purposes and used by most private sector profiler and credit card companies, risk of serious security problems have been raised. According to the Social Security Administration, it is enough for someone to know your name and Social Security number to transfer funds or do fraudulent business with your money. For this reason, it is important to not give your SSN to any person or company except if it will be used for legitimate purposes.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reported that identity theft rate has now reached 400,000 cases each year and is still growing forty percent annually. Although identity theft has now gone high-tech with the advent of the internet, there is still a great threat from getting information from your mails or garbage. Experts have suggested ways on how to reduce your risk of becoming a victim such as not carrying your Social Security card in your wallet, and not sharing your SSN when not necessary and requesting a copy of your Social Security Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement at least once a year to ensure that the information in your file are correct.

If you think that someone else is using your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration immediately before things get worse. Your Social Security number is very beneficial to you and it will stay with you for the rest of your life so do what is necessary to make sure that you don’t get deprived of the privilege to enjoy the benefits you worked hard for.

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