As I’ve written here before, your Social Security number is the most important key to identity theft. With that number, a thief can get all the other information necessary to start using your identity. You must protect that information, and not give it to anyone who doesn’t absolutely have to have it. Don’t print the number on your checks, and don’t carry it in your wallet.
But the federal government is giving conflicting advice on this issue. The Federal Trade Commission warns in a pamphlet that you should never carry your Social Security number with you. On the other hand, Medicare includes the full Social Security numbers of nearly 44 million beneficiaries on their identity cards. And of course these beneficiaries have to show that card every time they go to a doctor’s office or hospital.
Also, Social Security numbers appear on 8 million identity cards issued by the Pentagon to active-duty personnel, Reserves and their dependents, and military retirees.
My advice is to not carry these cards with you unless you know you’re going to have to use them. Stay safe.