The Patriot Position: Social Security Numbers

Editorial Staff

With 17.6 million Americans falling victim to identity theft in the year 2014 as reported by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), identity theft is one of the most prevalent white-collar crimes.

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the U.S. Criminals use an individual’s social security number to get more personal information about you or “use your number and your good credit to apply for more credit in your name.”

Without an individual knowing that his or her identity has been stolen, their good credit can be unknowingly ruined by theft.

We at “The Patriot” have personally experienced identity theft.

For example, Content Editor Lauren Owens received a letter in the mail from the International Revenue Services (IRS) saying that her Social Security number had been used to file taxes under her name without her knowing. For the rest of the tax season, her account was frozen and she had to mail in her information to file her taxes.

According to the SSA, Social Security numbers are a confidential document, and in all cases you should take caution to protect your Social Security number and question its use.

The enforcement on the policy for student workers to write their social security numbers on time cards has required students to risk the safety of their identity by leaving their social security number on time cards that are not always secure.

We at “The Patriot” have experienced working jobs on campus where our time cards have been left in unlocked drawers and cabinets.

Any person who sees workers filling out time cards could easily go behind them and take a picture of the time card with confidential information on it.

In the case that identity theft does occur, the individual must report the incident to the FTC’s resource website and his or her local police department. Then, there are a number of steps to take based on the type of identity theft that occurred.

The time that it takes an identity theft victim to recover from having his or her Social Security number stolen can be easily spent elsewhere, by erring on the side of caution rather than leaving our card numbers out in the open.

The security of our financial stability and safety should be a priority at FMU, and it is negligent for student workers to be required to write confidential records in a non-secure location.