Frauds & Scams, Privacy & Identity, Social Security Number and Card

Guard Your Card: Protect What’s Important to You

November 18, 2021 • By

Last Updated: November 18, 2021

Close-up of social security cards - We encourage you not to carry your Social Security card with you every day. The best way to “Guard Your Card” is to keep it in a safe place and share it only when required, which is rare. In fact, in most cases, just knowing the Social Security number should be enough. In 49 states and the District of Columbia, a Social Security card isn’t required to request a Real ID. Only Pennsylvania requires it.

Please be careful about sharing your number when asked for it. You should always ask why your number is needed, how it will be used, and what will happen if you refuse. Also, you shouldn’t carry documents that display your number.

If you need a replacement Social Security card, we make it easy. You may be able to use a personal my Social Security account to request a replacement on our website. If you live in one of 45 participating states or the District of Columbia, and are requesting a replacement card with no changes, like a name change, you can use our free online service.

Visit our Social Security Number and Card page to learn more about your Social Security card. Please read our factsheet, How You Can Help Us Protect Your Social Security Number and Keep Your Information Safe, for more information. Our Guard Your Card infographic is another great resource to understand whether you need to show your card.

Please share these resources with your friends, and family – and post them on social media.


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Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

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  1. Nina

    How do I close an account that I recently created on SSA website?

    Reply
  2. Selina J.

    A social security card is the most important identification document and should be guarded at all times. Use your SSN in place of any other identifying information if needed.

    If you ever suspect that someone has taken possession of your Social Security Card, file a report with the police and also notify the Social Security Administration immediately. Identity thieves will then use your SSN to open bank accounts or get lines of credit. Beware…..

    Reply
    • Julio P.

      No se inglés y no puedo saber que es lo que en realidad nececite

      Reply
  3. Harold B.

    How does the SSA know who my wife is? We have been married for 20 years and filed income tax returns jointly during that time, but I have never notified the SSA of my marriage. Is there a way to do that?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Harold, thanks for your question. To report your marriage, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. We hope this information helps.

      Reply
  4. azure

    I’ve heard of employers asking (or requiring to see one) to see a SSN card, and, for people who’ve been homeless, or unemployed for awhie, it may be easier for them to show that–if they have it– then a birth certificate, particularly an original or certified copy. Or the other possibilities listed in the infographic for work.

    What SSA and the FTC say re: SSN#s & cards, doesn’t seem to be recognized by credit card issuers, banks, mutual fund managers, telecommunication corporations (Century Link, et al) and health care providers ALL of whom either demand you provide your SSN# (health care providers and telecommunications providers–neither of whom have a right to that information they just want it because that information makes it easier to garnish bank accounts/collect alleged past due payments) or push you to allow its use as part of authentication process. Maybe SSA and the FTC should be talking to them instead of the general public?

    Reply
  5. John

    I’m now a disabled vetenan living in Germany. Over in one of my perminate change of stations. I’ve lost my SSC card. I’ve never had to show it. Now, its being asked for as an ID card. Being Service disabled, how can I get another?

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi John, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. We recommend that individuals living outside the United States contact the nearest Federal Benefit Unit in the area for any assistance related to Social Security programs and benefits. Also, our Office of International Operations home page provides more information to assist our customers living abroad. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Lois

    Are we required to give anyone our SS number, say like when opening bank accounts, credit accounts, any kind of utility or internet account, etc? This number is not for credit purposes and it needs to quit being used as such.

    Any chance the federal government will do the right thing and give us a federal ID number that can be used for the purposes such as listed above.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Vonda

      Hi Lois, thanks for using our blog. If someone asks for your Social Security number, you should ask why, how it will be used, and what will happen if you refuse to give it. Make sure you give your employer and your financial institution(s) your correct Social Security number so your records and tax information are accurate. For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Question on refusing to give your number to private businesses. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  7. Ann-marie W.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hasan A.

      I don’t my social security Number because in 10 yrs I didn’t took my wages or even my all Benifits, because I didn’t arrived in Field District

      Reply
      • Vonda

        For your security, Hasan, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information.  Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

        Reply
  8. jing h.

    no

    Reply

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