GO
FORGOT YOUR PASSWORD?
NOT YET REGISTERED? PRIVACY
Keeping Personal Details Under Wraps
Your 'personal' info can be widely shared.
Who has a right to my Social Security number?

Think your life is private? Many of the details about you and your life are readily available:

So what?

When it comes to giving out her Social Security number, Maria Carmen wants to know who she can 'just say no' to.
"Who DOESN'T have a right to my Social Security number?"
—Maria Carmen

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Maria Carmen is a senior in high school. She was surprised when she learned that she doesn't have to (and neither do you) give her Social Security number to:

According to the Social Security Administration, giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, ask:

The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. It may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested, but the decision is yours.

When does your right to privacy outweigh an institution's need to know your private information?

 

The political side of this battle has been fought in the courts and legislature for years.

If all of your information were kept private, you would have no credit history.

You wouldn't be able to get a credit card or car loan unless you had a long and trusted relationship with your credit union or other financial institution.

No one would want to take the chance of not getting their money back!

You might be the kind of person who gives out your personal information freely.

You don't mind when a store knows your buying habits and sends you reminders of sales or discount coupons.

But there's a downside as well:

Phishing is when someone sends you e-mail that looks legitimate—but isn't—in an attempt to get private information.

There can be serious consequences.

Bad: You become the victim of identity theft. Someone impersonates you and steals money or steals your credit card number and goes on a shopping spree.

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