Anyone who’s been to the doctor or dentist or any other medical facility over the last few years has been given a copy of their privacy policy. It’s required by the Health Insurance and Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996.

So you read it and sign it and then someone at the front window gives you a sheet with your personal information to update. Maybe they do this every visit or maybe only at the start of a new billing cycle.

Make sure you stop and read the form carefully to see if your Social Security Number (SSN) is listed. If it is tell them to immediately delete it!

They don’t need your SSN and it shouldn’t be on your form so that everyone can see it. I went to one of my yearly medical checkups and saw that they had my SSN on the form. I stood there while the assistant blacked it out. I went and spoke with their office manager who said the SSNs weren’t supposed to be automatically printed on the forms. And I watched as she deleted my SSN from my office record.

We have to be our own advocates when it comes to protecting our personal identity information. That goes double when it’s our SSN which is so valuable to someone who wants to steal it for criminal ends.