The Money Mustache Community

Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Investor Alley => Topic started by: ObtuseWorld on June 04, 2016, 05:54:38 PM

Title: Social Security Numbers
Post by: ObtuseWorld on June 04, 2016, 05:54:38 PM
Looking up things like Betterment, Lending Tree, etc., they always ask for your social security number.  Is it safe to give this information out online?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: nobodyspecial on June 04, 2016, 07:47:55 PM
Trust your not-a-secret SSN to a brokerage that you are also going to give $10-100,000 of your hard earned money to ?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: FIRE me on June 04, 2016, 11:38:47 PM
Looking up things like Betterment, Lending Tree, etc., they always ask for your social security number.  Is it safe to give this information out online?

Server security breaches do happen. But the companies involved generally own up to, and make good for any damages.

I would think the larger threat would be the security of the computer you are using. If it is infected with spy ware, key loggers, viruses or Trojans, your account could be in danger.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: forummm on June 05, 2016, 07:16:32 AM
If you are going to make an investment, they are going to need your SSN for tax purposes. All such businesses will need it.

If you are worried about your ID getting stolen, maybe just stick with one online investment service like Vanguard (which is far superior to Betterment or Lending Club anyway).
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: Indexer on June 05, 2016, 08:40:40 AM
I read some very good advice recently.

"Assume identity thieves already have your information."

Between your banks, investment firms, government agencies, etc. there are so many chances for breaches. In addition, every time you call one of these entities the rep you are talking to can probably see your SSN. Someone could hack your computer, etc. There are thousands of possibilities.

Best bet it to just check things to see if anything does happen. You can probably get free credit monitoring through your credit card company. Look at it once a month. Look at your statement once a month. If you get a strange phone call you weren't expecting hang up and then call the company they were claiming to be at the 1-800 number on their website. Set the answers to security questions to be things that aren't the real answer. Example:  First pet's name, "45TD33G." Getting basic information off facebook/public records and then using that to guess your security questions is the easiest way to hack your online accounts. They don't even need your SSN.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: ender on June 05, 2016, 08:43:52 AM
I don't understand the poll.

Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: Paul der Krake on June 05, 2016, 09:07:42 AM
It doesn't matter much. Your information will be stolen. Monitoring is the name of the game.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: nobodyspecial on June 05, 2016, 11:13:03 AM
The problem is systems/organisations that think your SSN is secret, and so if you know your SSN it's really you.
People's SSN isn't any more secret then their name
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: forummm on June 05, 2016, 11:53:29 AM
People's SSN isn't any more secret then their name

Somewhat hyperbole. I know hundreds of people. I know (or have access to) the SSNs for only a few.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: Mighty-Dollar on June 06, 2016, 12:59:00 AM
E Trade has my SS#. I believe it's for tax reasons.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers
Post by: FarmerPete on June 06, 2016, 08:19:53 AM
Simply put, you can't invest money with any reputable company without handing over a SSN or other Tax ID#.  Uncle Sam requires it so that they can get your tax info.  So if you are asking, should you trust your money to a legitimate company, the answer is it's preferable to the other options.  Any company must store the SSN on their servers.  If your concern is putting it into a web form vs a paper and mailing it or calling it in on the phone, really, security on a web browser is better than the security on a POTS phone or the postal service.  Sure, your computer could be hacked right now.  If you are really concerned, buy a new computer and use it for nothing but online banking.  It's typically best practice to assume that any computer that has touched the raw internet is unclean.  If you don't want to buy a new computer, than you obviously don't care much about your security, so than the answer to your poll is stop worrying about it and just give them the info.