What’s Behind The “Numbers”?

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Have you ever wondered how your Social Security Number is created?

We each have a nine digit number that is used by the Social Security Administration, IRS, and employers. Created in 1936, the Social Security number was first designed to track your earning history. We all know that it is also used by financial institutions, insurance companies, courts and creditors.

The secrets to the numbers include: The first three digits are the area number – the geographic area where your number is registered. Since 1972, the number has been assigned according to zip code. The next two digits is your birth indicator. The last four digits also known as the serial number, completes the nine digit number.  It is common to be asked for these last four digits to verify your identity when doing banking, insurance, credit history, and medical.

When I was in college, my social security number was my student ID. As identity theft, in which thieves take on someone else’s ID, became common, it was time for colleges to create their own ID system. Even when I started work, my SS number was on travel reimbursement papers; luckily that has changed now. Some businesses now scrub computers to make sure sensitive numbers are no longer stored on computers.

To deter identity theft, be careful about sharing your SSN and other key personal information (birth date, mother’s maiden name, place of birth, etc). For more information, see: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

If your name changes, notify the the Social Security Administration so they can make changes in your account.  To contact the Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov; there you will be able to find your local office.

Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor

Resources are important whether you are looking to rent your first apartment, pay your bills, buy your first home or send your child to college. There are many ways to save money to reach your goals, and hopefully ISU Money Tip$ will be one of them. I enjoy traveling, needlework and am a novice gardener.

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