Each time I write a column about guarding your Social Security number, I get calls from seniors complaining that the government is one of the biggest contributors to identity theft because it exposes seniors’ Social Security numbers on their Medicare cards.

Here’s a recent e-mail I received from a reader after we ran a wire service story about the government’s practice of putting Social Security numbers on the cards, while at the same time warning Americans not to carry the valuable number in their wallets:

“Federal requirements creating ID theft opportunities,” the reader wrote. “Just try to get a Medicare card without them using your Social Security number as your policy number. It won’t happen.”

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