Governments around the world use national identification numbers to keep track of the financial dues and privileges of citizens. In most cases, an individual’s number is associated with legal identification.
Social Security Number
The United States government originally developed the Social Security Number, or SSN, system to manage the Social Security benefits of its citizens. Over time, the government began to use these nine-digit numbers to track individuals' taxation information. Today, a SSN is required for many basic privileges, such as driving a car, enrolling in school and opening a bank account.
Social Insurance Number
The Canadian government uses the Social Insurance Number, or SIN, system. The SIN enables individuals to work in the country and take advantage of government benefits and programs. As with the SSN in America, many organizations and institutions in Canada use the SIN as a simple method of identification.
Identity theft can occur if someone illegitimately acquires your SSN or SIN. For example, someone could use your identification number to rent vehicles or access bank accounts in your name.