As the school year comes to an end, we are faced with lots of things that require a new registration for our children. As a victim of identity theft (from my own apartment complex registration) I no longer give our social security numbers to anyone. As parents, it's our job to protect our children in every way possible. This includes their identities as well.
Unfortunately, we live in a world that this happens far too much. Children owe thousands of dollars in debt because someone stole their identities. People can get government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live. The best thing you can do is know your rights when it comes to handing your social security card over.
Many parents think that if they ask for it, they must need it.
You don't have to surrender your child's Social Security number to anyone you don't want to. There are only rare circumstances that it is required. Here are a few that you most certainly should say NO to.
Do you have to give your child's social security number?
- School's – When you register your child for school (Public or Private) they ask for it on the million forms you have to fill out. It is not required or needed for ANYTHING that a school would need to do. All you have to do is sign a consent form letting them know that you don't wish to surrender it and they are completely fine with it.
- Summer Camps, Classes, and Little Leagues – This should be a given. There is no reason that any activity your child attends whether it's a dance class, art class, sports team or camp that they would need your child's social.
- Doctor's Offices – There are some instances where your doctor's office might need your social to verify your insurance, but generally that is only when a problem arises. The way I handle this is leaving the section blank and letting them know you do not carry the card on you. Then let them know if they need it for verification they can contact you at that time.
- Rental Agreements for You – If you are a renter and you are asked about your social as well as the social of your children I would ask for a written statement as to why they need your child's and let them know you would prefer only to list yours. (As I mentioned my identity was stolen by an office employee that had access to it) Your children can't default on a payment, so there is no reason to have it.
- Leave it locked up – NEVER carry your social security cards with you. If your wallet is lost or stolen not only do they have your Social Security Number, but they have your address. The only things needed to get started applying for anything they want.
- Check the whole family's credit– You can pull a report for free every year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Do it for every member of your family to make sure no suspicious activity has occurred.
I think the best rule of thumb to remember is to ask yourself and the person requesting the social security number, Why do you need it? If they don't have a valid reason, do not give it to them. You'd be surprised at how many people don't even know why they request it. So keep it out of their hands. It only takes one dishonest employee to ruin your child's credit for the rest of their lives, and it's not an easy process to reverse. I hope these tips help.