Cyber Security Today: How to protect your social insurance number

Three tips for keeping your social insurance number safe from theft and abuse.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday, August 29th. I’m Howard Solomon. I’m away this week but still have some security and privacy tips to pass on to listeners.

You social insurance number is a valuable piece of information that can be used by a criminal to help impersonate you, so it needs to be protected. The office of the privacy commissioner of Canada has a few suggestions. First, who demands your number? Not many companies, unless it’s for income reporting purposes. You only have to provide your number when it’s legally required, so don’t keep your social insurance card in your wallet. Second, shred any documents you’re throwing away that have your SIN number – don’t just toss them in the recycling bin. And remember, private-sector organizations shouldn’t ask a customer for their SIN number unless there is a legal requirement to do so. Unless an organization can prove that your SIN is required by law, or that no alternative identifier would suffice to complete the transaction, you cannot be denied a product or service because you refuse to provide your social insurance number. For more on this see the website of the office of the privacy commissioner of Canada.

I’ll be back Friday with another tip. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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