In today’s digital age, sending sensitive information via email has become common. However, ensuring that the data being sent is secure and protected from potential threats is crucial. Social security numbers (SSNs) are the most sensitive information people often need to share online. In this article, we’ll explore the best practices for sending SSNs safely via email.
Social Security Number
A Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit identification number the United States government assigns individuals to track their earnings and monitor their Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues SSNs to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and non-citizens authorized to work in the United States. SSNs are used for various purposes beyond Social Security, including tax reporting, opening bank accounts, applying for loans or credit cards, and verifying identity when applying for a job.
SSNs are considered sensitive personal information and should be kept confidential to prevent identity theft or fraud.
Is it Safe to Send your Social Security Number by Email?
In today’s digital age, many people are unsure whether emailing social security numbers are safe. If you wonder; if I should email my social security number, the answer is No. Sending social security numbers through email is not recommended, as email is not a secure method of communication. Email messages are transmitted through multiple servers and networks, and there is always a risk that unauthorized individuals could intercept or access the message.
Additionally, email accounts can be compromised through hacking or phishing attacks, which can expose sensitive information like SSNs. If your SSN falls into the wrong hands, it can be used to commit identity theft or other types of fraud. With your SSN, a criminal can open credit card accounts, apply for loans, or even file tax returns in your name.
This can result in significant financial loss and damage to your credit score. So it is not safe to send SSNs over email.
Is it Safe to Give SSN Over the Phone?
Giving your Social Security Number (SSN) over the phone can be risky. While there are situations where it is necessary to provide your SSN over the phone, such as applying for credit, applying for a job, or applying for government benefits, it is essential to be cautious and take steps to protect your personal information.
One of the main risks of giving out your SSN over the phone is that you may be speaking with a fraudulent caller or scammer attempting to steal your identity. These scammers often use sophisticated tactics to trick people into revealing their personal information, including their SSN, and can use this information to open fraudulent credit accounts, apply for loans or government benefits, or commit other types of financial fraud.
To protect your SSN and personal information, verifying the caller’s identity and the organization’s legitimacy is important before providing any personal information.
How to Send Social Security Number Safely Via Email?
If you must send your SSN via email and have queries like, What is the most secure or safest way to send your Social Security number? How to send your social security number safely via email? You can take the following steps to reduce the risk of your information falling into the wrong hands.
Encrypt your Email Message
Encryption is the message encoding process, so only authorized parties can access it. Encrypting your email message can add more protection to your SSN. There are several encryption options available, including PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions), and TLS (Transport Layer Security).
Use a Secure Email Service
You can send social security numbers via email using a secure email service. Secure email services use encryption and other security measures to protect messages from unauthorized access. Some popular, secure email services include ProtonMail, Tutanota, and Hushmail.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
Sending sensitive information over a public Wi-Fi network is never a good idea. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, meaning anyone connected to the same network can potentially intercept and access your messages. If sending social security number through the mail is a must, use a trusted and secure Wi-Fi network or your cellular data network.
Double-Check the Recipient’s Email Address
Before mailing documents with social security numbers, send the message to the intended recipient. It’s easy to mistype an email address, which could result in your SSN being sent to the wrong person.
Double-checking the recipient’s email address is a simple yet effective way to avoid this mistake.
Use Password-Protected Attachments
Use password protection to keep the file secure to send SSNs over email as an attachment. Password-protected attachments are encrypted and require a password to be opened. This can help prevent unauthorized access to your SSN if the email falls into the wrong hands.
Sending social security numbers via email can be risky, but there are ways to do it safely. It is important to remember that email is not a secure method of communication, and it is always best to use secure and encrypted communication methods when sharing sensitive information. If you must email a social security number, follow the tips in this guide.