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What is Social Security number protection?

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Quick Answer

Social Security number protection is based on a program that reduces theft of Social Security numbers, according to the Social Security Administration. This program encourages individuals and businesses to use different identifiers for customers, clients and patients, as opposed to their Social Security numbers.

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Full Answer

This public information program is meant to encourage businesses and organizations to stop requiring Social Security numbers as a main identifier, notes the Social Security Administration. This means when someone needs her identity to be proven after filling out an application for something, she use other identifiers. By not using her Social Security number, it helps to protect her number and identity from being stolen. The Social Security Administration is recommending this form of Social Security number protection to schools, government agencies, businesses and medical facilities.

Giving out Social Security numbers for identifying purposes is one of the biggest risks to someone losing her identity. One recommendation it has is for businesses to use the person's employer or educational institution as an alternate identifier instead of the Social Security number. If the person's name and school match up, it should be enough to identify the individual correctly. This is already used for foreign students who don't have a Social Security number, so it makes sense as a good alternative, according to the Social Security Administration. Data encryption is recommended for organizations that still need to use Social Security numbers.

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