Ask a ton of questions
If you just can't avoid giving out the number, "we advise people to ask a lot of questions," says Schifferle. Start with these.
- "Why do you need my Social Security number?"
- "Will my number be shared with anybody?"
Your number and other nonpublic personal information may be shared by your bank with affiliates and other businesses. But federal law requires companies offering financial products such as loans, insurance or investment advice to tell how they share your information.
- "How will my Social Security number be stored?"
You want to know, for example, that your rental application won't sit in a pile on the apartment manager's desk that someone can sift through after hours. Feel confident that a business will take measures to protect your Social Security number.