“I literally don’t know what would happen if my Social Security number got leaked,” comedian Melissa Ong (@chunkysdead) says in a TikTok that has been viewed almost 4 million times since she posted it on Sept. 22.
After saying she doesn’t know what a Social Security number “is for,” she shows the camera a Social Security card while covering up the number and then recites a nine-digit number.
Ong captioned the video with the hashtag #mschf, the name of the company that made Lil Nas X’s controversial “Satan Shoes.” The company’s name is pronounced mischief, which has cast doubt onto whether or not Ong shared her real Social Security number.
Social Security is an anti-poverty program that was created in the 1930s as a response to the Great Depression by President Franklin Roosevelt. Through the program, the government records the wages and earnings of U.S. citizens and authorized non-citizens. Then, if or when one receives Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration can calculate those benefits based on one’s lifelong earnings.
In addition to collecting benefits, Social Security numbers are needed to get jobs. Because the number is vital for holding a job and receiving benefits, the Social Security administration recommends people avoid giving out their Social Security number “unnecessarily.”
Though Ong said she didn’t understand the value of her Social Security number, TikTokers in the comment section of her video did.
“This gave me second-hand anxiety,” commented @thekatcurtis.
“You just made my mom a citizen,” wrote @zaidd.s.
Ong posted a follow-up video on Sept. 24.
“The only thing that kind of happened was someone tried to apply for a credit card and failed,” she said.
In addition to expressing surprise that Ong may have actually shared her real Social Security number, people followed up in the comments again with stories about their leaked Social Security numbers.
“Someone got my social & it has been affecting my life for the last decade,” wrote @mamasquirell. “They’ve kept it up for 10 years even though I file police reports.”
“Mine was stolen when I was 17,” commented @amanda0419 on Ong’s original video. “They got a home loan and two car loans and paid them off. So I had excellent credit to destroy all by myself.”
Ong did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via email.
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