I’ve talked to some pretty paranoid people through my job, but one just a couple of weeks ago really takes the cake.  When we verify a card member, we usually verify their mother’s maiden name or password.  When we can’t do that, either because we don’t have it on file or the moron gave us a password that they can’t remember, then we go to the last four digits of their Social Security Number.  I had a gentleman who called in who did not have his mother’s maiden name or a password listed.  When I asked him for the last four of his SSN, his response floored me.


“I don’t give that out by phone.”


According to the World Factbook at, the population of the United States, as of July of 2006, was 298,444,215.  That means, given the fact that the SSN is nine digits long, each person can have a unique number.  Of the 999,999,999 different combinations that are possible, the sheer number of people who have the same last four numbers would make it highly improbable that I could steal some individual person’s SSN just by having the last numbers.  If a person is that paranoid about identity theft, then maybe he shouldn’t have a credit card at all.  I mean, after all, he did have to send in an application through the mail that had the entire number on it, leaving a chance for someone between Point A and Point B to intercept it.  Or he might have called in the application and the person on the other end might have written it down for personal use.  Or he might have done it online (hackers).  And forget getting a job.  We have to give the whole number to our employers, too.


If you call a place that asks you to verify the last four digits of your SSN, just give it to them.  There’s nothing that they or anyone else can do with those four numbers.


Until next time, God Bless

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