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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Protect Your Social Security Number at the Doctor’s Office

Jan 05


It’s cold season and it’s very likely that you will be heading to the doctor at some point. Before working with ProtectMyID, I filled out forms in my doctor’s office without a second thought, writing down my date of birth, Social Security number and other sensitive information.  After working here, I realized that I can take proactive steps to protect my Social Security number, and those often begin in places like doctors’ offices.

For example, did you know that most doctors’ offices do not need your Social Security number for their files (even though most forms ask for it)? They like to get your SSN as an easy way to track you to ensure payment. However, when I asked my doctor’s office assistant if that information was really needed, she said as long as I had an insurance number, they didn’t need my SSN. Now, I leave that portion of forms blank.

The Social Security Administration offers the following advice to people who want to protect their SSN.

You should be very careful about sharing your number and card to protect against misuse of your number. Giving your number is voluntary even when you are asked for the number directly. If requested, you should ask:

  • Why your number is needed
  • How your number will be used
  • What happens if you refuse
  • What law requires you to give your number

The answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to give your Social Security number. The decision is yours. 

Protecting your identity starts with taking easy steps to protect yourself, like asking what will be done with your personal information in the doctor’s office. If you don’t like the answer you hear, don’t give out your information. To learn more about ways to protect yourself, visit

53 Comments Add your comment

  1. Jane
    Mar 16 at 08:25

    Please people, I received notification from a former doctors office that someone had broken into their system and they received hundreds of patients personal information including ss#’s. I hadn’t been a patient there in at least 5 years. This is why I do not provide mine.


  2. Jay
    Mar 20 at 13:38

    Randy – bravo – bravo.

    I’d like to extend any and every support I can to help you fight the case. I am not sure what the status is, but let me know whatever I can remotely do to help.

    Crooks like these need to be taken to task. Thanks for fighting back.


  3. Gib
    Apr 16 at 13:09

    Sara Smith,
    You might find it “appalling how many people who have insurance do not understand their benefit structure”, but you have to look it this from an outsider’s perspective: benefits change yearly, the average patient has no idea what category a particular service falls under, plus they rarely know how much any service costs…does your office publish a price list? I’ve never seen one. Patients usually have no idea how much an office visit is, let alone the wide variety of tests, consultations with specialists, etc.


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