Home » Living in US » What is Social Security Number (SSN) ? Importance – Identity Theft ?

What is Social Security Number (SSN) ? Importance – Identity Theft ?

Many of you, who arrive in US as international wonder about Social Security Number and What does it stand for. What we overlook as internationals is the importance of it and how you can be prone to identity theft, if you do not take care of SSN properly. We will cover the basics of SSN and its importance in this article.

What is Social Security Number (SSN )?

SSN is a 9 digit number in the format XXX-XX-XXXX. It is given to all US Citizens, permanent residents and temporary residents who work in US. Its primary purpose was to “track individuals income for taxation”. Lets see the structure : AAA-GG-SSSS. First four are for area where it was issued, middle two are group number for administrative purposes with specific pattern and final 4 are serial number from
0001 to 9999.

Why is SSN very  Important ?

It is VERY IMPORTANT to remember your SSN, as it is the only proof your identity. The law assumes that, NO ONE other than you except your Employers, Banking person, Credit card companies  and other Financial related people knows that number. It is FRAUD if someone in the above list steals these number and distribute or use for something else. So, the only way to identify your IDENTITY is by SSN. Typically, people ask for LAST 4 digits of SSN on phone. You should say only last four. NEVER EVER say FULL SSN on phone to anyone or tell it to anyone. It is supposed to be maintained secretly and you should only know it.  It is used to track your personal info in a lot of places, especially your financial, immigration related info like your credit history, driving history, rental history, etc. Honestly, it is part and parcel of your life in US. Almost every single detail of you is tracked by SSN.  ( just an analogy, think of it India nowadays we have PAN card for everyone who work. Similar, but million times more important than PAN card )

Identity Theft  with SSN

People can steal your identity if they knew your SSN and Date of Birth completely. Just imagine a simple example,  someone pretends just like you and calls up a bank or other place and says all the info including your SSN and date of birth, they get along and can get anything done like wire transfer or what not ? This is just a trivial example. Think of other possibilities what they can do So, your identity is stolen in fact. That is the reason, SSN is private and should be guarded.  Refer to federal government website for more details on Identity theft of SSN

[content_band style=”color: #333;” bg_color=”#ffddea” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″] Important Info[/custom_headline] Never Share your SSN without anyone, except banks and your employer or any Govt websites, where you are asked to. Also REMEMBER  YOUR SSN  BY HEART and LAST 4 for sure and keep the number PRIVATE.  NEVER PHOTOCOPY your SSN and store in your wallet.  Just remember it. [/content_band]

What are your tips for SSN and protecting it ?

image credit : http://icenter.ucsd.edu/_images/ifso/ssn.jpg 


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  1. hello kumar i may get f1 visa to do my clinical rotations in the usa.But i cant work .If i dont have a job i wont get an ssn so how will i apply for a driver’s license ?

  2. Hi. whatever the information you posted here absolutely usefull to every US Citinzens as well as usefull to who wants to know about this US Taxations .. i believe people have to utilize this site as their knowledge imporving site on US Taxations .

    • Yes and NO. You need to have an on campus job to get SSN now-a-days. Few years ago, there was no such rule…everyone used to get SSN…not anymore.

      • Social security numbers (SSNs) are required for employment. If you are working for the first time, or if you are a business owner with employees, you might need to know how to check if SSN is valid.

        There are many different ways to validate SSNs. The tools you use depend on who you are, what your purpose is, and how accurate you need the information to be. In this article, we discuss the importance of valid SSNs for employment and the best way how to check if SSN is valid.


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