Is it safe to send SSN over email?

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Offer Details: For the location and other information about your local Social Security office, use our locator. If you cannot find your answer online and do not have a question about your personal situation, complete the form below to send us an email. Please do not include Social Security numbers in …

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How to Protect Your SSN

Here are 10 things you can do to safeguard your SSN:

1. Offer an Alternative Form of ID

If a business or other organization asks for your SSN, offer your driver’s license number instead. Other alternative forms of ID include a passport, proof of current and previous address (such as utility bills), or even a student ID from a college or university.

2. Ask Why They Want It and How It Will Be Handled

If the business insists, ask questions. You have a right to know why it’s necessary to provide your SSN and how it will be handled. Ask questions such as:

  • Why is having my SSN necessary?
  • With whom will you share my number if I provide it?
  • How will my number be stored?
  • Do you have a privacy policy, and may I see it?
  • Will you cover my liability or losses if my number is stolen or compromised?

Unfortunately, if you are asked to provide your SSN to a business or an institution that doesn’t need it, and you say no, it can refuse to provide services to you or put conditions on the service—such as requiring a deposit or additional fees.

3. Leave Your Card at Home

Don’t carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet or purse. Don’t enter your SSN into your phone, laptop, or other devices. It would be rare for you to need your card. Typically, reciting the number is all that’s required. Keep the number in your head and the card locked up at home.

4. Shred Mail and Documents With Personal Details

Discarded mail and documents are a magnet for identity thieves. Don’t just throw out papers that contain personal details such as your SSN. Get a paper shredder and use it on a regular basis. While you’re at it, don’t leave mail in an outside mailbox for long periods. Stealing mail is another way thieves can make off with your information.

5. Don’t Use Your SSN as a Password

Don’t use the whole SSN—or even a part of it—as a password. The password file can be stolen and decrypted, or someone can just watch you type it in from over your shoulder.

6. Don’t Send Your SSN via an Electronic Device

Never type your SSN into an email or instant message and send it. The majority of such messages can be intercepted and read. Also, don’t leave a voicemail that includes your SSN. If you need to contact someone and give them your number, it’s best to do it in person. The second best way is to reach them on the phone and do it live.

7. Don’t Give It out to Strangers

You should never provide your SSN to someone you don’t know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the internet. In general, don’t give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.

8. Monitor Your Bank and Credit Card Accounts

Keep close tabs on your bank and credit card balances. This is one way to make sure your SSN and identity have not been compromised. Many banks let you sign up for account alerts. They will send you text messages or call you if transactions exceed a certain amount or if someone tries to use your SSN to access your account.

Check your credit score on a regular basis at You can usually only do this once a year for free, but due to COVID-19, you are allowed to get free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) is still sending you an annual statement detailing your earnings, and it looks out of whack, someone might be using your number for employment purposes. You can register to get statements at the SSA website.

The three credit reporting bureaus are offering free weekly credit reports via through April 20, 2022, due to the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

9. Consider an Identity Protection Service

You can register with (and pay for) an identity protection service such as LifeLock, IdentityForce, or Identity Guard. Such companies charge fees that typically start around $10 a month. Banks and credit unions also have packages they sell to customers, as do major credit rating agencies such as Experian and TransUnion. Many of the best credit monitoring services also offer identity protection tools and services.

10. Don’t Forget to Protect Your Child’s SSN

While you are protecting your own SSN, make sure you are equally watchful about your children’s numbers. This is most often an issue at the doctor’s office. Fortunately, most medical facilities are more than happy to use an insurance account number instead of your SSN or your child’s.

Email encryption in transit – Gmail Help

Offer Details: Check if a message you’re sending is encrypted. Start composing a message. Add recipients to the "To" field. To the right of your recipients, you’ll see a lock icon that shows the level of encryption that is supported by your message’s recipients. If there are multiple users with various encryption levels, the icon will show the lowest

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It can be decrypted if the user knows the correct pass phrase

Same address in the cloud: The message Decrypted:


  • Be careful with social security numbers or other private, personal identifying information, whether it is your own or your employees’.

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  • Be cautious about using unofficial, third-party search sites for social security information. The governmental sites are available to authorized users for free.

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