In 1975, American Express reminded you that there were some things without which you should not leave home, their credit card being their main focus. Still, it was a good and useful reminder for a lot of things. Indeed, some things are so important that we really shouldn’t leave home without them. I can’t honestly say that an American Express card is one of them. But certainly, if you have a credit card, bring it with you.
It is also a reminder that there are some things we most certainly should leave home without. You should leave your social security card at home unless you are going someplace where you know it will be needed. Don’t treat it like a default carry. Treat it like a special carry. There are some situations that require a social security card. You will find that many of those places will accept a picture of your social security card.
On the rare occasions you have to carry your social security card, don’t keep it in your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, your social security card will be safe. Otherwise, don’t carry it at all. Here’s why:
Your Social Security Number Is Attached to Everything Important
The one piece of information about you that you don’t want to fall into the wrong hands is your social security number. The last 4 digits can unlock a credit check. All 9 digits unlock everything else there is to know about you. If you are going to lose a card, let it be your credit card. That can be easily and quickly canceled and changed. Your social security number is forever.
If you lose your card, find a good guide on how to report a lost social security card. After contacting the SSA, you should immediately do the following:
- Contact your bank.
- Reach out to the credit bureaus.
- Put a credit freeze on your account.
- Establish fraud alerts for further transactions
Lose your credit cards and you might lose some money. Lose your social security card and you lose your identity.
You Can Lose Your Good Credit
There are things debt will stop you from doing. You don’t want to be in debt if you can help it. And that is exactly where you will find yourself if you let your social security card fall into the wrong hands. If you carry your card with you everyday, the risk of losing it far outweighs the reward of having it when you need it.
There is a remarkably short period of time between losing your social security card and having new credit cards fraudulently obtained by thieves. They can even use your current credit cards because they have a key piece of information for gaining access to your account. At that point, you are done. You will spend the next several months fighting fraudulent charges and trying to get your credit rating back up above 500. Once your social security number goes up for auction on the dark web, your credit score goes down in the real world.
A Picture Is Often Enough
There are many situations when a social security card is required. But a substitute will be accepted. A picture of your card is often a good enough substitute because what they want is the information on the card and not the card, itself.
Not only is a picture good enough in many cases, it is more secure. To get to the pictures in your phone, you have to get into the phone. Even with a weak passcode, that can be rather difficult to accomplish. You can keep the picture in notes and lock the note.
There are some things you certainly don’t want to leave home without. And there are other things that you want to leave at home pretty much all the time. Leave your social security card at home because in the wrong hands, it places your identity at risk. It is tied to your credit worthiness, and more secure substitutes will often do the trick.