Organizations using social security number as filing system

Many viewers expressed concern about the safety of their social security number after seeing a story about a former Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital nurse using patients' socials to commit tax fraud.

Your social security number is confidential.

And local police say to treat those nine digits as such.

"Just keep it protected at all times. Don't give it out over the phone. Don't give it out over the internet," says Det. Catoa Baldwin with the Albany Police Department. "Keep your social security number in a safe place with important papers. Just keep it locked up and never walk around with your social security card in your pocket."

The Social Security Administration says show your social security card to your employer when starting a job so your records are correct, and provide your Social Security number to your financial institution for tax reporting purposes. Other than that, they say to keep it hidden with important papers.

The Social Security Administration says organizations, including doctors' offices and hospitals, use your social security numbers as a primary identifier for their record keeping, which is why law enforcement says to ask questions before giving out those confidential nine digits.

"Just ask them what they need it for, how it's going to be used, will it be disposed of after it's used," says Baldwin.

The Social Security Administration also says to ask what happens if you refuse to give your social.

Visit the Social Security Administration's website for more tips on keeping your social security number and identity safe.

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