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 www.protectmyid.com.