October’s Friday the 13th will soon arrive. Some consider it an an unlucky day, while others, those suffering from triskaidekaphobia, are truly terrified of the number 13. While superstitions play an important part in the Friday the 13th jitters, here are 13 things to know about your Social Security number and card. We hope they help you feel safer! 1. Your Social Security number is your link to Retirement or Disability benefits since it is used to record your wages and earnings. 2. There is no charge to obtain a Social Security number and card. 3. Your records are confidential. Only when the law requires or when your information connects you to other government or social service programs, are they disclosed. 4. To prevent identity theft, keep your Social Security card in a safe place with other important papers. Don’t share it with people who call you on the phone, come to your door or solicit on the web. 5. You need a Social Security number to get a job and for other services but you often don’t need a card. Many organizations can verify your number directly with Social Security. 6. You can replace a lost Social Security card up to three times a year with a lifetime limit of 10 replacements. Legal name changes are exceptions. 7. Request a replacement card by visiting socialsecurity.gov/myaccount 8. If you suspect someone is using your number for work purposes, report the problem to Social Security. 9. If you suspect someone is misusing your number to create credit or other problems for you, report the identify theft with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at identitytheft.gov or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT. You should also contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS); file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at ic3.gov; and monitor your credit reports.
10. The nine-digit Social Security number was initiated in 1936 for tracking workers’ earnings over the course of their lifetimes for benefits, not with the intent of personal identification. Since 1936, we have issued more than 30 different versions of the Social Security number card. 11. Until June 2011, the first three digits of a Social Security number were determined by the geographical region in which the person lived. Numbers were assigned beginning in the northeast and moving westward. Residents on the east coast often have lower numbers than those on the west coast. Any number beginning with 000 will never be a valid Social Security number. 12. Beginning in June 2011, we assigned Social Security numbers randomly, which protects the integrity of the Social Security number, eliminates the geographical significance of the first three digits of the Social Security number, and extends the longevity of the nine-digit Social Security number. 13. Since November 1936, we have issued 453.7 million different numbers and there are approximately 420 million numbers available for future assignments. We assign about 5.5 million new numbers a year.