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Did you know…? The last four digits of your Social Security number are especially important.

Posted on December 17, 2017

Although the last four digits of your Social Security number are very freely shared, they are, in fact, the most important part to protect.

According to Teipen, Selanders, Poynter & Ayres, that’s because:

  • Only the last four digits of your Social Security number are truly random and unique.
  • The first five numbers represent when and where your Social Security card was issued.
  • Scammers can figure out the first five numbers by determining your birth date and hometown.

Teipen, Selanders, Poynter & Ayres CPAs strongly recommend that when asked for all or part of your SSN, don’t give it out.

Only a few organizations have a legal right to use your SSN — your employer, banks and lenders, investment funds, the IRS, and government-funded programs such as workers’ compensation.

If identity thieves determine your Social Security number, they have an easy path to creating the greatest damage to your financial information. Not only can they open credit in your name, steal your money and government benefits, they can also obtain medical care and tax refunds in your name.

Guard your “Final Four.”

Although they are widely used and shared, the last four digits of your SSN are the most important to protect. When asked by others, just say no. Never use them as your PIN. Don’t share them in emails. If asked for them as an identifier, which many companies do, use an alternative numeral chain instead, such as the last four digits of your cell phone number. 

Your best defense is to protect all nine digits – but especially the last four, cautions TPSA. The more your number is out there, the greater the risk of identity theft. Be safe. Protect your “final four”.