Thursday, June 26, 2008
Warning! Warning! They're Out There, Just Waiting to Get You - Really!
Last week, at quilting circle, the subject of social security cards came up. Specifically, carrying your social security card in your wallet. Of the ten or so women there that day, more than half did not realize they should NEVER keep their card in their wallet. I got my SS# when I was 16 years old, about to begin my first job, thus receiving my first paycheck. Back then (and doesn't that - combined in the same paragraph as 'quilting circle' - make me sound 100 years old), parents didn't have to submit a SS# for each child on their income tax return. Most people didn't get a card til they got their first job, thus joining the world of paying taxes to Uncle Sam.

When I married I went to the SS office and got a new card issued, with my changed name. I've had the same little cardboard document for the past 27 years, and it's stored in our safe, along with my husband's.

When each of our children got married, we gave them their original card, telling them #1 memorize the number #2 never carry it with them #3 keep it in a safe place, literally a safe at home, or safe deposit box at a bank #4 never, ever give it out to anyone, for any reason, over the phone, especially if it was a phone call they'd received rather than placed, #5 shred any document that had their SS# on it, rather than throwing it in the trash.

I was surprised that many of my group of friends did not know they shouldn't have their card on their person. We're mostly of the generation that grew up having to worry more if your bike or laundry, hung on the clothesline to dry, was stolen, rather than personal information. When I googled this subject, here's what came up from the Privacy Rights website:

6. My wallet was stolen and it had my Social Security card in it. What should I do?
We strongly advise that you do NOT carry your Social Security card in your wallet except on days when you need to show it to, say, to a new employer. You should take the steps given in number 2 above *to reduce the risk of new accounts being opened in your name. For more information, please read Fact Sheet 17(a) available at: (*See full article at website listed).

If someone has your social security number they can do vast damage to your finances so fast it would make your head spin. You'd be better off losing a credit card, which usually has a limit to the damages that you are responsible for, than if anyone gets ahold of your social security number. So ladies, to anyone out there that this is news to, think of all the phone numbers we remember, the pin numbers, birthdates, etc. Memorize your number, put the card away, and let your family members know to do the same. Every single time this has come up in conversation, I've been surprised how many people whip out their wallet and produce their SS card.

What reminded me to post this is an article I read in today's paper. There's a new, lovely scam out there. The article said, not only are 'official sweepstakes' cons abounding these days, telling people to send in a money order or certified check to cover the fees for money they've won (which will NEVER happen by the way, you don't EVER have to pay fees to win something legit, regardless of how official it may sound, it's not), but now that 'economic stimulus' refund checks are coming in the mail, people are reporting to the Federal government that they are receiving emails, supposedly from the IRS, asking them to submit an online application ensuring fast processing of the check. Some are even receiving phone calls that have been electronically altered to show a Washington D.C. area code. It generally requires the person to submit banking information, account numbers, so the 'funds can be deposited electronically'. The article said, 'the IRS does NOT contact consumers by email, nor do they ever request bank account or financial information online. If you receive this email you can contact to report it, or call the attorney general's office at 1-800-441-2555 or online at

I know this, and yet I've been almost duped more than once by an official looking website, looking almost exactly like PayPal, or Amazon, even my bank, or other online vendors, asking me to submit my banking information to verify an account. We no longer live in a world where we have to worry only about bikes or washday laundry on the clothesline being stolen. While I personally think there's a special corner of hell for the people who commit this type of crime, let's not make it any easier for them, shall we.


  posted at 7:53 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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