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March 11, 2014 > Social Security Column: Beware the Ides of March (and every day)

Social Security Column: Beware the Ides of March (and every day)

By Mariaelena Lemus Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in San Jose

ÒBeware the Ides of March,Ó said the soothsayer to Caesar in William ShakespeareÕs play, Julius Caesar. We at Social Security recommend you beware not only the Ides of March, but every dayÑand every timeÑyou go on the Internet. Identity theft and cyber-crimes are among the fastest-growing crimes in America.

TodayÕs savvy thieves have added identity to the list of things they can rob. Their targets are people who use the Internet, and by the time you realize youÕve been robbed, Brutus may already have done his damage and escaped.

ÒEt tu, Brute?Ó Caesar said as his good friend Brutus betrayed him. Even web pages and online sources that appear friendly and trustworthy could be plotting against you. This is why you should protect your personally identifiable information, such as your Social Security number, date of birth and motherÕs maiden name. Never give this information out in an email or fill it in on a website asking for it, unless you are absolutely sure that you know and trust the source. And even then, be cautious.

That said, if you conduct business on www.socialsecurity.gov, thereÕs no need to worry. Our online transactions are secure and convenient. You are protected when you are on our website.

If you think youÕve been the victim of an online Brutus, donÕt simply tear your toga. You should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/identitytheft. Or you can call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.

There will continue to be those who believe it wonÕt happen to them. And there will continue to be victims. ÒThe Ides of March have come,Ó Caesar said, doubting the prophecy that he would become a victim on March 15.

ÒAye, Caesar,Ó the soothsayer replied, Òbut not gone.Ó

Sure, you may have used the Internet for years and may consider yourself savvy. But thereÕs always tomorrow for a Brutus to strike. When it comes to providing personal information on the Internet, treat every day as though itÕs the Ides of March.

Unless youÕre in a secure place that you trust, like www.socialsecurity.gov. After all, on the Ides of March and every day of the year, Security is our middle nameÑliterally.

Learn more about identity theft by reading our online publication, Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.


Social Security Q&A

Question:
I'm expecting a baby this June. What do I need to do to get a Social Security number for my baby?

Answer:
Apply for a number at the hospital when you apply for your baby's birth certificate. The state agency that issues birth certificates will share your child's information with us, and we will mail the Social Security card to you. You can learn more about the Social Security number and card by reading our online publication on the subject, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

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