I was recently asked for the first 4 digits of my SSN on an insurance application. I refused. I was told the usual answer “no ever has had a problem with this before.” well that does not surprise me. The security IQ of the average business in my estimation barely registers. This is especially true for small and medium businesses, although as seen, even their larger brethren are pretty bad. Anyway I digress. It is not just this hapless insurance company. Doctors offices continue to be notoriously bad. 1 month ago I tried to make an appointment with a doctor and they asked for my full SSN. Of course I refused. I made it all the way to the CEO of the practice and this fool simply repeated over and over it was their policy as their software used it as a unique identifier. Idiots.

How easy is it to guess SSN’s?

Quote

Researchers have found that it is possible to guess many — if not all — of the nine digits in an individual’s Social Security number using publicly available information, a finding they say compromises the security of one of the most widely used consumer identifiers in the United States.

Many numbers could be guessed at by simply knowing a person’s birth data, the researchers from Carnegie Mellon University said. ….read more

My advice – refuse to give your SSN to anyone. And guard your birth-date also, especially online. Use a fake birth-date for any site requesting it.