Social Security Numbers Going the Way of the Dodo with Banks

May 9th, 2014 by Alex Bach

Five of the US’s major banks have just taken a big step to improve the security of your identity. How so, exactly? By eliminating the recurring use of your social security number to confirm your identity. Let’s take a look at just what this means and how your security will be greatly benefited.

Want to find out how else someone can steal your identity? Read through the the primary methods of identity theft to learn more about how you can protect yourself.

The story broke in the New York Times that 5 of the biggest and most popular banks in the country will no longer be requiring you to enter that prized 10-digit number, the golden ticket for identity thieves, when you need to confirm your identity in dealings with the banks. These banks include U.S. Bank, Regions Bank, TD Bank, Union Bank, and Comerica. Hopefully more banks will follow suit.

While you’ll still need your social security number to set up a bank account, these banks have decided that that will be the only time your social security number is required by the banks. Other methods will be used to confirm your identity when contacting them or resolving disputes. This is a major step forward for consumer security when risks are at an all time high.

With the heartbleed virus coming to public attention, and with the certainty that it won’t be the only one to emerge, it makes sense for companies to take extra security measures by limiting the amount of sensitive information you repeatedly have to give them.  All it takes is one virus to capture your key-strokes one time as you confirm your identity to your bank or credit card for them to be able to steal your identity and open a line of credit in your name.

After all, consider that while much of your other information–your name, address, DOB, and phone number–can all be found fairly easy through social media or a cursory search, it is the social security number that blocks access to thieves gaining free reign on your identity. Minimizing the use of that number can greatly reduce your risks of fraud.


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