Computer security firm McAfee has released a list of the most dangerous places to provide your social security number:
- Banking/Financial Institutions
- State Governments
- Local Governments
- Federal Governments
- Medical Businesses (Please note: These are businesses that concentrate on services and products for the medical field such as distributors of diabetes or dialysis supplies, medical billing services, pharmaceutical companies, etc.)
- Non-Profit Organizations
- Technology Companies
- [tied] Medical Insurance and Medical Offices/Clinics
Of course, I have been in rebellion for some time now.
- College doesn’t require a social security number unless you want federal aid (I don’t).
- Banks, although required to take a social security number for tax purposes (your account’s interest), do allow illegals and foreign-nationals to get bank accounts. When you start to ask questions, it opens up a whole new understanding of the banking world.
- Hospitals, medical businesses - I try to treat myself. It is easier to do (and cheaper) than most people realize for most (not all) situations.
- State, local, federal government - The IRS has happily taken my 1040 without a social security number on it so far (but then maybe they just looked it up). I could not get a driver’s license without it, unless I had never been assigned a number (which I have, unfortunately).
- Non-profit organizations, technology companies - I leave blank or enter all 9’s.
- Medical insurance - I don’t have, don’t want, and have explained it before while discussing Obamacare.
And if you don’t live on credit, you remove almost everyone else from the list of companies that require your social security number. Buy your own cell phone and prepay monthly (T-Mobile allows it; I’m sure others do also). Pay cash for your car.
A few years back, there was a study done about how secure people were with their social security numbers. Do you remember those “Enter to Win” centers in the mall? They set up several and found that a lot of people would write down their social security number in exchange for a chance to win chocolate.
I can’t find the news reports for that at the moment, but a more recent survey has been done involving passwords, birth dates, names, e-mail addresses, and chocolate. Even with the instruction on how to avoid identity theft, it is not a stretch to believe that people give their social security number away freely.
Our entire country is built on top of the Social Security program, but it is possible to live without it. I expect it to fail before I get old enough to withdraw anyway, so I consider it a Social Insecurity or additional tax.
A direct move to a national sales tax to replace the failing IRS tactics would cause an amusing panic. Maybe the Flat Tax would be a good stepping stone in that direction, since it could be used to wean us off of our reliance on the social security number.
Ah, for dreams.