Recently, South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley disclosed that a hacker based outside of the United States had hacked into the South Carolina Department of Revenue Computers and that data including Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and debit card numbers on 387,000 people was stolen thereby putting these people in serious jeopardy of identity theft. South Carolina officials did say, however, that only 16,000 of the stolen credit card numbers were not encrypted, however, the theft of the hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers alone would place these individuals in serious danger of identity theft. Once an identity thief has your credit card or debit card number, the identity thief can get access to your credit card or bank account respectively and with a Social Security number the identity thief could get access to your credit report thereby enabling the identity thief to use your identity and credit for large purchases.
No matter how good you are at protecting your personal data, you are only as safe as the entity with the weakest security that holds your personal data. It is for this reason that you should limit as much as possible how much information you provide the people with whom you do business. Your doctor, for instance, does not need your Social Security number as an identifying number. You should always check your credit card statement and bank account statement monthly to make sure that there are no unauthorized charges and if you find any, report them immediately to avoid liability. Finally, you should consider putting a credit freeze on yoru credit report so that even if your personal data is stolen, the identity thief cannot get access to your credit report. You can find more information about credit freezes elsewhere on scamicide.