Tech Guides (IT Governance)

Protecting Credit Cards & Social Security Numbers

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Two of the most important keys to your livelihood are your credit card number and social security number. Learn how you can keep both those numbers secure and sleep with both eyes shut.

Credit cards

Online shopping is easy and convenient, and it provides you with the opportunity to buy almost anything. However, it is important to understand that when you shop online and give out sensitive information such as credit card numbers, there are security risks involved. 

Tips for minimizing credit card fraud
  • Do not allow your computer to save credit card numbers. Some computers and operating systems provide the option of saving, or “caching,” your card numbers for quicker checkouts. Though this is temptingly convenient, when a card number is saved and automatically populates the requisite areas of a checkout screen, it makes your information that much easier for hackers to find and exploit. 
  • Only buy from verified websites. Check to make sure that the website has security measures enabled to keep your information private from both the vendor and potential criminals. 
  • Do not shop using public computers or public wireless networks
  • Set up an account with PayPal or another legitimate online payment service. These services offer an extra layer of protection and will usually ensure that you get refunded if needed. 
  • Always keep an eye on your bank statements. Make sure everything looks as it should, and no unfamiliar charges appear. If you see anything abnormal, contact your bank immediately to shut off the compromised card. 

Social Security Numbers

Your Social Security Number (SSN) should always be kept safe. With your SSN, a criminal can open accounts, steal medical information, steal benefits, file false tax refunds, and glean any other perks that come with being you.

Tips for protecting your Social Security Number

  • The most likely requestors of your Social Security number are employers, the IRS, banks/lenders, and government-run programs. If the person or entity requesting your Social Security number does not fall into any of these categories, you have reason to be suspicious and to refuse their request. 
  • Do not keep your Social Security card in your wallet. Memorize your number and keep your card locked away somewhere safe. 
  • Never write your Social Security number in an email or say it in a voicemail. There is no reason to do this; legitimate businesses would never ask you to do this, and anything that can be written in an email or spoken in a voicemail can be done in a much more secure way. 
  • Shred documents that contain your Social Security number before you throw them away.
  • Do not use any part of your Social Security number for anything like a PIN code or password. 


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