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Four times you shouldn’t give out your Social Security number

Posted at 8:26 AM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 07:36:16-04

You should always guard your Social Security number closely. Here are four times when you should not give it out:

1. Schools

When it comes to schools, the U.S. Department of Justice says a school district can't prevent your child from enrolling in or attending school if you choose not to provide their Social Security number.

2. Doctor’s office

To protect your personal information, security experts advise you not to give out your Social Security number to doctor’s offices or hospitals.

3. Booking a flight

If you're booking a flight or any kind of travel, keep those nine digits private.

4. During a job application

You don't have to provide it, either.

So, who can you share it with? Because your Social Security number is for tax reporting purposes, financial institutions and your employer need it.

The Social Security Administration says if you're ever in doubt, ask an organization why they need it, how they plan to use it and what will happen if you don't give it out.

“People are not required to give out their Social Security number to private businesses,” said Elena Gonzales-Walker, a spokesperson with the Social Security Administration. "... They need to know that refusing to provide their number might mean doing without the purchase or service for which the number was requested," she said.

“The primary message is this: People need to be careful with their Social Security number to minimize the possibility that their Social Security number will be misused,” Gonzales-Walker said.