A great identity theft prevention feature that many corporation started using is the utilization of the last four digits of your social security number. Your social security number often shows up on your credit reports, billing statements, credit and loan applications, and so on.
Social Security Number Use in The Past
In the past, companies you did business with would prominently print your account number, often your social security number, on your bills or applications. Remember those days? These were the times when identity theft was a novel and unknown concept. Some people would even have name tags with their employee id on it, and yes, it was often their social security number.
Last Four Digits of the Social Security Number Applied More Often
In the recent times, this started to change as identity theft became more rampant. You find very rarely instances of social security number use among the big companies that consumers do business with. Often, they assign a random id number to your file, rather than assigning a full social security number. Some companies tend to use the last 4 digits of your social to verify your identity, and in my opinion, this is a great step forward.
Social Security Number Not Yet Protected By All
However, a lot of smaller companies still use the full social security number to keep records. In turn, those businesses are often not worried, not knowing, or not caring. In any instance, this is a big problem for millions of people who do business with the smaller companies as the risk of identity theft increases drastically. Whenever I have done identity theft assessments the biggest concern of mine was the number of files with full arsenal of identifying information being placed on desks with public access. This happens in all companies alike, but for the most part, it is the smaller companies that lack the prevention initiatives.
Prevent Identity Theft and Social Security Theft
So what can you do to prevent identity theft? Ask the companies that use your social security number to assign a different account number. Make sure it is something that doesn’t identify you to the rest of the world, but something only you and the company know. If they still “have to” use your social security number make certain that they only use the last four digits. Also, when doing business with small and big companies ask them what identity theft initiatives are in place to protect you from identity theft. If they are clueless, send them over to my blog. Perhaps, it might be of good use to them as this blog features business identity section as well.