Is It Safe To Text Social Security Number? (5 Safety Tips)
By Larry Li
June 24, 2022
Whether you need to send out your Social Security number to set up a bank account or apply for an apartment, keeping your SSN safe is crucial. However, you need a secure way to send it to the recipient.
So is it safe to text a Social Security number?
It’s not advisable to text your Social Security number. Your phone can be stolen, and phone messages can be hacked since text messages aren’t fully encrypted. So no, it isn’t safe to text your Social Security number.
If your Social Security number falls into the wrong hands, the other individual can file fraudulent tax returns, collect benefits, and ultimately steal your identity.
Luckily, a platform like Trustworthy provides a secure collaboration solution for when you need to send your Social Security number to another person.
In today’s in-depth guide, I’ll discuss:
An overview of text messaging’s security and encryption
If you should share your Social Security number by text
Can you send Social Security number through text securely
Tips for sending Social Security number by text
Texting vs Trustworthy for sending Social Security number
Text Security & Encryption: Overview
Text messages aren’t as private or secure compared to other communication tools. For example, your cellular carrier can view your messages, hackers can intercept your messages, and government agencies can review your messages. In addition, phone numbers are disappointedly easy to hijack.
Every time you send a text message, your messages aren’t encrypted because they’re sent over open networks. As a result, cybercriminals can intercept your messages and see your Social Security number. Furthermore, your cellular carrier can see your messages since the data is stored on their servers.
Text messaging’s security protocols are outdated and vulnerable to breaches and hacks. This is because SMS text messaging is meant for casual communication, not for sending highly sensitive information.
Since text messages don’t offer end-to-end encryption, they are limited in their privacy and security features. End-to-end encryption is a security feature that prevents third parties from accessing your data as it’s transferred across networks. Therefore, end-to-end encryption prevents hackers from intercepting your Social Security number.
Should You Send Social Security Number By Text?
You shouldn’t send your Social Security number by text. Although sending a text message is convenient, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks. The potential consequences of your Social Security number falling into the wrong hands can be financially devastating.
As I clarified in the previous section, text messaging uses outdated and vulnerable security protocols.
Ask yourself this question, “Do I want multiple parties to have access to my messages, even when I don’t know how secure their data management is?”
There is also a phone theft epidemic in the United States. Thieves steal millions of phones each year. The primary reason so many phones are stolen is that the owner left the phone behind in a public setting.
If a thief steals your phone and unlocks it, they can view your text messages which contain your Social Security number. So, avoid sending your Social Security number by text at all costs.
Can You Send Social Security Number Through Text Securely?
It’s impossible to send your Social Security number with absolute certainty that your info is safe and secure. Nonetheless, adding more encryption to your text messages through iMessage or Android Messages is possible.
Unlike standard SMS text messaging, Apple iMessage offers end-to-end encryption. However, you and the recipient must have iPhones, or else you can’t use iMessage. Furthermore, both parties need to enable iMessages. If you must send your Social Security number by text, iMessage is objectively more secure than standard SMS.
Likewise, Android phones have a similar function called Messages by Google, which offers end-to-end encryption. However, both you and the recipient need to have Android phones with Messages enabled.
Apple iMessage and Messaged by Google provide a more secure way of sending your Social Security number by text. But your phone can still be stolen at any time. As such, you can’t send your Social Security number through text securely.
Tips For Sending Social Security Number By Text?
Sometimes, you’re in a pinch and need to send your Social Security number quickly. I admit nothing beats text messaging in terms of convenience and accessibility.
So here are five essential tips to follow when you want to send your Social Security number by text.
1. Opt for a Secure Messaging App
Instead of using a standard SMS text message, you should use a third-party messaging app with end-to-end encryption.
The best messaging apps include:
These three apps are free to use and offer more security and privacy than standard text messaging. These apps allow you to lock your app with a password, facial recognition, or fingerprint. This way, thieves can’t access your messages if they steal your phone.
2. Delete Your Texts Immediately
After you text your Social Security number, delete the text immediately. Since you don’t need to save your own Social Security number, there’s no reason to keep it on your phone. This way, your Social Security number isn’t compromised if somebody steals your phone.
You should also ask the recipient to delete the text message as soon as they finish using your Social Security number. The longer your Social Security number lives on any device, the higher the risk of Social Security theft and identity fraud.
3. Send a Partial Social Security Number
You shouldn’t text your full Social Security number. Since your SSN is 9 digits long, you can text the first 6 digits and send the last 3 digits another way. For example, you can email or use a different messaging app to send the last 3 digits. This way, your entire SSN isn’t listed in a single location.
4. Call the Recipient Instead
Instead of texting your SSN, you can deliver it through a phone call. This way, your SSN isn’t saved on any servers or exposed on both of your phones. However, I understand the recipient may need to write it down. In this case, ensure the recipient writes it down somewhere safe and shreds the paper when they finish using your SSN.
5. Protect Your Phone
The last tip is to make sure you and the recipient’s phones are secured. This means using a secure password so thieves and intruders can’t unlock your phones.
In addition to having a strong passcode, you should enable your phone’s Auto-Lock feature. Auto-Lock automatically locks your phone after it’s been idle for a certain period of time.
Texting vs Trustworthy For Sending Social Security Number
Social Security fraud costs Americans millions, and even billions, of dollars each year. These fraudulent activities primarily relate to identity theft, where criminals file false income tax returns to collect fraudulent refunds.
This is why it’s imperative to keep your Social Security number safe. When you need to send your SSN to another individual, you should use Trustworthy.
Trustworthy is a highly secure digital storage platform with innovative sharing and collaboration tools. It offers the most secure way of sending an SSN online. However, Trustworthy is built for more than only Social Security numbers. With Trustworthy, you can store and send bank passwords, passports, insurance documents, and much more.
End-to-end encryption and heightened security protocols are at the heart of Trustworthy. Best of all, Trustworthy is easy to use and set up. Try Trustworthy for free (click here to start your free trial) and get a first-hand experience of our innovative cloud-based storage and collaboration platform.