Social security number and identity theft protection should be a priority by all American citizens.

Your social security number is a prize catch for any criminals out there who wants to use your identity for their own gain while you suffer the consequences.

One of the most common identity theft scams needs only your social security number.

Through your social security number and your personal information, these identity thieves can apply loans and credits under your name and through your good credit report.

And don't expect them to pay for those, you will just find out that you have been victimized after you get calls from angry creditors wanting their money or when you get denied in your own credit application due to bad credit history.

Do you see the repercussions here?

It's not just about the money (although it is a huge part of it) but mostly it ruins your credit history.

Some of the negative effects of bad credit history are:

· Credit card and loan applications will be denied

· If you do get credit cards and loans approved, it will have high interest rates

· You will have difficulty getting lease for apartments

· You will be required to provide security deposits for utility services such as electricity and water.

· You can be denied employment

· High insurance premiums

Those are just some of the effects that you will experience from losing a couple sets of numbers.

So what should you do to protect your social security number and protect yourself from identity theft?

Here are some social security number and identity theft protection tips:

  • Do not bring your social security card unless necessary.

  • Hide your Medicare card because your SS number is also printed on it.

  • Do not print your social security number on business cards, checks, or any other identifying information.

  • Do not give out your social security number to anyone unless needed. Ask those that ask for your social security number why they need it, especially on lease, loans and credit card applications.

  • Always check your annual Social Security Statement to see if the information is correct or if there are changes made.

  • Get a copy of your credit report every year to check for evidence of fraud that used your identity and social security number.

  • Get a copy of your credit report only from these three accredited bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union.

If you are a victim of identity theft, you should inform the Social Security Administration, The Federal Trade Commission and the Internal Revenue Service.

If someone continues to use your social security number despite efforts to protect it, then you can also ask the Social Security Administration to provide you a new one.