US Gov't: Do Not Carry Your Social Security Number; US Gov't: You Must Carry Your Social Security Number
from the mixed-messages dept
Medicare and the Defense Department each issue cards with the person's SSN included. Medicare seems particularly conflicted about the whole thing. It refuses to get rid of cards with SSNs, saying that "it would be too expensive." Instead, in order to deal with the risk of identity theft over this issue, it suggests that you only carry the card with you when you think you might need it: "don't carry it with you unless you know you're going to need it." In other words, always make sure to properly predict that heart attack or stroke ahead of time so you know to carry the card with you. Of course, Medicare also publishes a conflicting pamphlet that reminds people: "Carry your card with you when you are away from home." Mixed messages indeed.
Then, of course, the FTC also recommends that you not write your social security on any check, as that's an easy way for ID thefts to get a hold of it. Of course, on the other side, you have the IRS, who asks taxpayers to write their social security number on the checks you send in. So will the FTC now go after Medicare, the Defense Department and the IRS for helping to cause identity theft? Somehow I doubt it.