Why I Purposely Leave These Things Blank on Forms

Last week I spent about two hours trying to contact all the doctor clinics I had ever been a part of, after reading an article that warned against giving out personal information even if it’s a professional that asks for it.

My husband always jokes that I’m too paranoid because I like to keep my personal data private but I think it’s smart. Personal data includes anything from your location to your preferences to your account numbers. And lately, identity thieves are looking for something else that’s sweeter than candy to them- social security numbers.

I used to think that every time someone asked for it, I had to list my social security number but now I know that’s not the case. The only people who you should ever give your social to are your employers (for tax information), any organization that’s lending you more than $10,000, lawyers that are helping you with something, government documents and maybe one or two more depending on the circumstances.

However, these people should never ask for or take your social security number:

Airlines, doctors, supermarkets, preschools, daycares, dentists, etc.

I had given a few doctors my social security number but when I read that most hospitals and clinics do not have the budget to pay for proper security for their digital data, I said oh heck nah.

Giving the last four of your social is just as bad because the other numbers can be figured out based on the original system of how the government assigns these numbers, too.

I told all the clinics I had ever registered with to remove my social security number from their system. Some were confused by my request. Others said they had never heard of someone wanting to do this before. But they all complied. I did the same for my son because I don’t want him tracked.

And yes, that’s why people like doctors ask for your social security number… So they can track you for life if you forget to pay a bill or switch offices and other random stuff that’s not really their business.

You know what else is also not people’s business? My occupation. I see this question on a lot of forms and have recently stopped filling it out. Does it matter if I’m a hooker or a lawyer when you clean my teeth at the dentist? Does it matter if I’m a construction worker or maid when you are watching my son during the day? No. All that matters is that I pay what I owe and that my son is picked up on time.

Recently, I was even asked if my son was baptized and what religion we are. Although we did enroll in a Christian school, our beliefs and practices are still personal and private. All they need to know is that I’m okay with my son participating in their curriculum where Jesus is discussed on a very basic level.

Among other things I leave blank now sometimes are my email address (unless I actually want communication, like my son’s school for instance), or I make one up. Same for phone number because I don’t want to be harassed. And most places share your information with ‘third-party’ companies and affiliates all the time without telling you who these mysterious third parties are.

I’ll share my view in more detail in a different post when I discuss the new European Data Regulation being passed in May 2018. It’s funny how much businesses think we don’t know about their shady practices to use our info for their benefit but some of that is about to change…

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