A lot of institutions will ask for a Social Security number for a variety of applications and services. But which organizations really need it?
According to security experts, it's best not to give out your social security number to these four institutions if they ask for it.
When it comes to schools, the U.S. Department of Justice says a school district can't prevent your child from enrolling in or attending school if you choose not to provide their Social Security number.
2. Doctor's office
To protect your personal information, security experts advise you not to give out your Social Security number to doctor's offices or hospitals.
3. Booking a flight
If you're booking a flight or any kind of travel, keep those nine digits private.
4. On a job application
Employers don't need your social security number until you've been hired.
So, who can you share it with?
Because your Social Security number is for tax reporting purposes, financial institutions and your employer need it.
The Social Security Administration says if you're ever in doubt, ask an organization why they need it, how they plan to use it and what will happen if you don't give it out.
"People are not required to give out their Social Security number to private businesses," said Elena Gonzales-Walker, a spokesperson with the Social Security Administration. "... They need to know that refusing to provide their number might mean doing without the purchase or service for which the number was requested."
"The primary message is this: People need to be careful with their Social Security number to minimize the possibility that their Social Security number will be misused," Gonzales-Walker said.
This story was originally published by Kristin Byrne on WTMJ in Milwaukee.