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Is It Safe To Give Your Social Security Number

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Things To Consider Beforehand And Ways To Safely Send Your Number

Good Question: Social Security Numbers on job applications

by Edward C. Baig, AARP, August 9, 2021| 0

En español | Scammers would love to get their paws on your Social Security number, which they can combine with other personal details they’ve obtained about you to open credit accounts, collect unemployment insurance, circumvent your benefits, commit crimes and unleash a whole lot of misery in your name.

That’s why the Social Security Administration and privacy and security experts issue stern warnings about keeping not only Social Security numbers under wraps except when necessary, but also the W-2s, 1099s and other documents they may appear on. Similar precautions apply to your driver’s license, insurance and medical IDs, and other information that in the wrong hands can bleed your finances and wreak havoc.

Tip : Rarely Share Your Number

You may have to provide your Social Security number to your bank or employer. But theres no reason your pizza delivery guy needs it. If someone asks for your Social Security number, ask questions. Why? How will it be used? What if I refuse to share it?

You may be able to offer an alternative form of identification, such as a drivers license number, student ID, or utility bill.

If An Organization Asks For A Sin And It Is Not Legally Required

If you believe your SIN isn’t required, ask why it is being requested, how it will be used and with whom it will be shared.

If your SIN is not required by law, explain that you prefer not to provide it. Offer different proof of identity.

If the organization refuses to provide the product or service unless you provide your SIN, ask to speak to the person in charge. Many organizations don’t know about the appropriate uses of the SIN. Once they understand, they may willingly change their practices.

If you are not satisfied with the organization’s response, you may formally complain to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada or 1-800-282-1376. There is no fee for making a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner.

You can also contact the organization’s industry association, ombudsman or complaint office. For example, the Canadian Marketing Association and the Canadian Banking Ombudsman handle customer complaints about their member companies.

For more information on laws about your privacy and the Government of Canada, visit the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Read Also: How Does Your Social Security Number Get Stolen

Do Ask About The Reason For Requesting Your Ssn

There are many reasons why a company might ask for your Social Security number. In some cases, the reasons are legitimate. For example, if you’re getting a home security system, the security company may ask for your Social Security number. This is likely because the security agreement is a two or three-year contract, and the company needs to run a credit check to see if you meet the credit requirements. But this doesn’t mean you should hand over your number without a fight. Make sure you understand why a company needs your personal information. If you don’t agree or feel comfortable with their explanation, don’t give out your number.

This rule also applies to family and friends who ask for your Social Security number. It doesn’t matter if it’s your parents, your brother, or your favorite cousin; there are few reasons why anyone would need your number. One example of a legitimate reason is if a relative names you as the beneficiary on his or her life insurance policy. The insurance company will need your Social Security number.

You Put An Account Number Into A Dummy Website

Times to Never Give Out Your Social Security Number ...

Some phishing emails or fraudulent URLs are created to look so convincingly like your bank’s, it is easy to mistakenly enter your username and password or, if they ask for it, your checking or savings account number. Other websites are made to emulate popular e-commerce or retail websites, tricking you into entering your credit card details.

If you’ve given away any of these numbers, call your bank immediately and describe the error in detail. Your bank should be able to read back any charges have been made fraudulently and connect you to the right department to help freeze or suspend the accounts that may have been comrpomised. You can typically find the fraud department directly by using the fraud services number on the back of your credit card, or on the bank’s website.

If fraudulent charges have been made, you may have to fill out a paper report, and any reimbursement may take time, typically a bit longer for debit cards than for credit cards. Here’s a version of one of these forms, used by Inova Federal Credit Union. A banker may call you to ask follow-up questions.

Read Also: How To Change Your Name With Social Security After Divorce

Why A Swedish City With A Violent Crime Problem Looked To Us For Solutions

No matter how real or official an email or phone call appears, remember that your bank or credit card company will never call or send an email requesting your personal data. Ignore these correspondences and report fraudulent activity to the Federal Trade Commission. Let your bank or credit card company know about the fraud, and you can forward phishing emails to;.

Visit Identitytheftgov To Get A Recovery Plan

You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and, more importantly, set up a recovery plan, or you can call 877-438-4338 to do so. Both will guide you through a process that includes:

  • Placing a fraud alert and obtaining your credit reports
  • Reporting the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission
  • Filing a report with your local police department
  • Recommended Reading: How To Get Your Social Security Card Fast

    What To Do If Your Social Security Card Is Lost Or Stolen

    In the digital age, the notion of losing your wallet or purse with your Social Security card lodged inside may seem like a low-risk or no-risk affair. But people do suffer lost or stolen wallets all the time. Pairing that experience with a lost Social Security card only doubles the pain.

    While there are dependable ways to avoid losing your Social Security card like locking it away in a safe place and keeping the card out of your wallet or pocket people still lose their Social Security cards. Make no mistake, getting a card back can be a bit of a process. This article covers everything you need to know and answers the big question: What do I do if I lost my Social Security card?

    Do Not Give Your Social Security Number At These Places

    If Asked For Social Security Number, Keep These 3 Things In Mind

    When should you give your Social Security number and when should you not?

    My rule on giving out my Social Security number is that I dont do it, unless I know its absolutely, positively required for what Im doing.

    Companies and institutions ask for our Social Security numbers like theyre handing out a piece of candy. Unfortunately, they do a mediocre-to-terrible job of securing the number, depending on the industry.

    Kiplinger magazine once ran a list of the 10 worst places to give out your Social Security number.

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    When To Provide Your Sin

    The most common uses of your SIN are for:

    • after being hired by your employer
    • when completing your income tax information
    • when opening an account from which you earn interest at a financial institution such as a bank or credit union
    • when accessing government programs and benefits such as:
    • Canada Pension Plan benefits
    • Registered Education Savings Plans
    • Registered Disability Savings Plans
    • Canada Child Benefit
    • Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax claims
    • Social assistance benefits
    • Workers compensation benefits
    • Child support payments

    The Social Insurance Number Code of Practice lists the federal programs that are permitted to use the SIN.

    Some businesses may ask for you for your SIN. This is strongly discouraged, but it is not illegal.

    For example, you do not have to provide your SIN for:

    • proving your identity
    • applying for a job
    • applying to rent a property
    • negotiating a lease with a landlord
    • applying for a credit card
    • cashing a cheque
    • completing some banking transactions
    • completing a medical questionnaire
    • signing up for cell phone, Internet or TV services
    • writing a will
    • applying to a university or college

    Your Options For Filling Out The Application

    Just because you are asked for your Social Security number, does not mean you are obligated to give it out. It is important for job seekers to know that they are not legally required to provide their Social Security numbers to employers, with the exception of government and;national security-related jobs;or jobs that require a credit check.

    With the rise of identity theft, it makes sense to be cautious when giving out your Social Security number. If the employer says giving your Social Security number is optional, you can simply choose not to give it. If it is required on the application, you can still choose not to list it if that’s possible.

    • Add an explanation.;You may be able to explain in your application that you do not feel comfortable giving them your Social Security number at this point in the job application process. However, keep in mind that if any job listing requires your Social Security number and you do not list it, your application may not be considered.
    • You may be able to leave it blank.;If you are filling out a job application, you may be able to skip the section where they ask for your SSN. Or make a notation that you would be willing to share your Social Security number once you are being seriously considered for employment.
    • You could edit what you list.;Another option is to list the last four digits as 0000. Of course, employers might choose to screen out applicants who do not comply with their request for information.

    Read Also: How To Get Someone’s Social Security

    When Its Generally Safe To Provide Your Social Security Number

    When youre familiar with the person requesting your Social Security number, you can verify their identity, and they are requesting it for a valid reason, its generally safe to provide your Social Security number. For example, if you are meeting in person with your banker to apply for a loan, its generally safe to provide the personal information needed to process the application.

    In addition to verifying their identity, the requester should also be able to answer questions regarding the safety and confidentiality of your personal information. Especially if it is your first time providing your personal information to the requester, dont hesitate to ask them how your information will be used and stored, as well as what safeguards they have in place to protect your information from hackers.

    Ask Why They Want It And How It Will Be Handled

    Hold the phone; protect your Social Security number

    If the business insists, ask questions. You have a right to know why its necessary to provide your SSN and how it will be handled. Ask questions such as:

    • Why is having my SSN necessary?
    • With whom will you share my number if I provide it?
    • How will my number be stored?
    • Do you have a privacy policy, and may I see it?
    • Will you cover my liability or losses if my number is stolen or compromised?

    Unfortunately, if you are asked to provide your SSN to a business or an institution that doesnt need it, and you say no, it can refuse to provide services to you or put conditions on the servicesuch as requiring a deposit or additional fees.

    Don’t Miss: Can You Collect Social Security At Age 62

    Your Social Security Number Is The Key

    Originally, your Social Security number was a way for the government to track your earnings and pay you retirement benefits. But over the years, it has become much more than that. It is the key to a lot of your personal information. With your name and SSN, an identity thief could open new credit and bank accounts, rent an apartment, or even get a job.

    Free Auto Insurance Comparison

    ;Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

    Chris Tepedino is a feature writer that has written extensively about auto insurance for numerous websites. He has a college degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and has experience reporting, researching investigative pieces, and crafting detailed, data-driven features.His works have been featured on CB Blog Nation, Flow Words, Healing Law, WIBW Kansas, and Cinncinati.com. …

    • Most, if not all, insurance companies require drivers to share their SSN with them
    • Your SSN provides crucial information that your insurance company uses to calculate your rates
    • Insurance companies work hard to protect the privacy of their clients

    With cyber crime growing ever more prevalent, its not a surprise that drivers are looking to protect themselves while shopping online for an auto insurance quote.

    Keeping personal information like your Social Security number close to the vest is usually the best policy to avoid identity theft.

    Cautious individuals who still want the convenience of online shopping may be no strangers to typing no SSN auto insurance near me or how to get auto insurance without an SSN into their search engine.

    But, if you want to buy auto insurance, is it a bad idea to give your Social Security number when shopping for auto insurance? It isnt really, and most, if not all, insurance companies will require that you share your SSN when you finalize a purchase with them.

    Also Check: What To Do If Your Social Security Number Is Lost

    Can I Use Cash App Without Sharing My Social Security Number

    Am sure a number of you already have an answer to this question as weve already talked about it slightly above. Nonetheless, the answer is yes, Cash App users who want to use Cash App without sharing their SSN can do so. This however will result in having a Cash App account that is limited. A limited Cash App account can only send up to $250 a week.; The receiving limit with a limited account is $1,000.

    Thinking Of Providing Your Social Security Number Think Again

    Should You Give Out Your Social Security Number?

    From doctors offices and financial institutions to college university admittance applications and summer camp registrations, the request for your Social Security number has become commonplace. In fact, its become such a standard request that many individuals willingly provide this number without hesitation and without really thinking about the consequences behind this, one of which being an increased risk of identity theft.

    Social Security numbers hold one of the keys to your identity. With it, you can open a new line of credit, gain employment, receive health insurance and file taxes. Thieves also know the power behind this nine-digit number, which is why its one of the most highly sought after pieces of personal information. There are a variety of ways that thieves attempt to obtain SSNs, and they include more low-tech methods like sifting through your trash, stealing a wallet, purse or laptop; or using more sophisticated ways like phishing emails and texts, scam calls and via data breaches. For example, there were nearly 158 million social security numbers exposed in 2017 due to data breaches.

    Be in the Know Educate yourself on the types of scenarios that require you to provide your Social Security number so that you can decide ahead of time whether or not you should provide it. Here is a list of situations that require your SSN:

    Recommended Reading: What Can Someone Use Your Social Security Number For

    The Irs Dirty Dozen Are Common Tax Schemes That Peak During Filing Season

    On its website, the IRS recently revealed its 2021 Dirty Dozen, saying taxpayers may fall victim to these common tax schemes year-round and especially during tax filing season.

    This years Dirty Dozen is sorted into four categories: pandemic-related scams, personal information cons, ruses focusing on unsuspecting victims, and schemes that persuade taxpayers into unscrupulous actions. The IRS urges all taxpayers to be on guard, especially during the pandemic, not only for themselves, but also for other people in their lives, the agency added.

    Places Where You Should Never Give Your Social Security Number

    How to protect Your Social Security Number

    I once asked a doctor why he wanted it. His response: “I don’t really know. I guess it’s because we’ve always asked for it.”

    Almost every day somebody asks for your Social Security Number and, like the Grand Marshal of a parade throwing rose petals or candy to the crowd, you probably give it up without giving it a second thought — because that’s what you’ve always done.

    So, the next time someone asks you for your Social Security number, reflect on this: In December, the Army announced that hackers stole the Social Security numbers of 36,000 visitors to Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, including intelligence officers.

    Cyber activists took control of the CIA’s website. The private information, including some Social Security numbers, of celebrities and political leaders including FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were exposed.

    The sensitive data of First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder, recently were posted on a website for the world to see.

    Hackers even listened in on a phone call in which the FBI and Scotland Yard were discussing the criminal investigation against those very same hackers!

    And, these incidents are only the crumbs on top of the coffee cake when you consider that hackers and thieves have improperly accessed more than 600 million consumer files since 2004.

    Monty Python had it right

    Don’t just hand it over

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