Thursday, May 19, 2022

Should I Give My Social Security Number

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Ask Why They Want It And How It Will Be Handled

Four times you shouldnt give out 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.

When To Provide Your Ssn

Not everyone who requests your SSN actually needs it. Generally speaking, if an entity reports information about you to the Internal Revenue Service , you probably have to supply your SSN. This includes your employer, banks/lenders, the U.S. Treasury for savings bonds, and state unemployment insurance and workers compensation offices.

Although other institutions and businesses have the right to ask for your number, they often dont need it, and you arent legally required to provide it.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, Medicare no longer uses Social Security numbers for identification. Instead, Medicare recipients receive a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier a unique series of numbers and letters that they should also try to protect from identity thieves.

Why Do Employers Ask For Last 4 Digits Of Ssn

For most of these companies they require the last four digits of your Social Security Number and the Month and Day of your Birth . This helps those VMS systems to create unique identifiers to track what jobs you have applied to, interviews and those results, departments, locations, etc.

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Who Can Lawfully Request My Social Security Number

The dramatic rise in identity theft over the last several years has resulted in many changes to the list of people and businesses that are legally entitled to request a Social Security number .

Not long ago, people provided their Social Security numbers without a second thought. Criminals took advantage of that complacency, and as a result, the federal government established the Identity Theft Task Force in 2006. One of the first recommendations the task force made was decreasing the unnecessary use of Social Security numbers. Much work remains in overcoming old procedures and habits in this regard, but any progress on this issue is better than the status quo.

Who has the right to request your SSN? Federal law mandates that state Departments of Motor Vehicles, tax authorities, welfare offices, and other governmental agencies request your SS number as proof that you are who you claim to be. However, the Privacy Act of 1974 requires that government agencies at the local, state, and federal level disclose to each person whether submitting your Social Security number is required, details on the use of this information, and what law or authority requires its use.

Please note that this Act stipulates that no one can deny you a government service or benefit for failing to provide your SSN unless federal law specifically requires it.

You aren’t legally required to provide your SSN to businesses unless one of the following is true:

What Information Does The Number Provide

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First and foremost, your social security number is used to verify your identity. Your social security number is attached to one name and one birthday. If you have a common name, say like John Smith, your SSN, birthday, middle name, and other corresponding information such as drivers license number and addresses youve lived together confirm that you are the John Smith in question.

Second, since social security numbers are used to track many types of personal transactions, a background check searches a variety of sources to pull up information on an individual. Accurate Backgrounds Social Security Trace and Address History search goes back seven years and identifies information including current addresses, all addresses where an applicant has lived, name summaries and variations, date of birth, etc. SSN searches will also reveal your work history and credit information such as foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Also Check: How Much Can I Get In Social Security Benefits

How Can I Protect My Social Security Number

Many people assume that they are required to give their SSN whenever and by whoever asked. That is simply not true. Federal law does not prohibit a merchant or other business from requesting your SSN. However, there is no state or federal law that requires you to provide your SSN to any entity not authorized by law to require it. Businesses, private agencies, etc. are free to request your SSN and use it for any purpose that does not violate state or federal law.

For example, retail stores, prospective landlords, prospective employers, utility companies, and other service providers often ask you your SSN, but they do not need to and you are not required to give it. They can do a credit check or ID their customers by alternative means.

Remember you are under no obligation to provide your SSN to any merchant or other business. However, that merchant or other business is free to decline your business if you refuse to disclose your SSN.

Agencies that may require your SSN:

Consider asking these questions:

  • Am I required by some law to provide my SSN?
  • Why do they need my SSN?
  • How will they use my SSN?
  • Will they share my SSN with other businesses or agencies?

Dont Share Your Social Security Number With Your Doctor

Security breaches at medical offices are especially concerning because your medical history and treatment status are particularly private information. Thats why we have HIPAA laws.

When your health care data is tied to your Social Security number, you are doubly exposed if someone is able to gain access to your file.

Most people arent aware that you are not required to give your Social Security number to your doctor unless there is an issue involving Medicare or Medicaid. If a staff member insists that you have to provide one, politely decline. There is no compelling reason for them to have it.

Criminals who get their hands on your Social Security number can create false identities and even seek medical care in your name. They can create a clone of your identity, but with their picture on your ID cards. Then you get the bills and your medical records reflect an illness you dont have, and collectors start coming after you for unpaid balance bills.

The medical industry needs to improve the job it does handling your info. Until they do that, follow this simple rule:

Do not give a doctors office, hospital, lab, or any medical facility your Social Security number on any form.

You can leave it blank or use a dummy number from the list here if they insist you fill one out. Here are some examples of how to create a dummy number:

Social Security numbers are constructed like this: AREA-GROUP-SERIAL

Recommended Reading: At What Age Do I Get Full Social Security

What Can A Scammer Do With My Social Security Number

Once hackers or thieves have your SSN, they can make false statements on claims, file claims under your SSN, file fraudulent tax returns for refunds, open bank accounts and credit cards and more. A SSN, especially one with a good credit score attached, can be used to extract serious money quickly via these scams.

What Information Does The Number Not Provide

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

Most significantly, and perhaps surprisingly, criminal records are not tied to SSNs. An individuals criminal charge may or may not include their SSN, so a clean criminal record check using SSN alone is not particularly meaningful. Its a start, but its by no means the whole story. However, using information gleaned from an SSN check that includes names and aliases as well as former addresses, skilled background screeners can search criminal records databases to find evidence of an individuals criminal history. So, while your SSN by itself will not reveal a criminal history, its nonetheless very difficult to run a thorough criminal background check without the additional information provided by a thorough SSN trace.

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What Happens If Someone Gets Your Ssn

Once hackers or thieves have your SSN, they can make false statements on claims, file claims under your SSN, file fraudulent tax returns for refunds, open bank accounts and credit cards and more. A SSN, especially one with a good credit score attached, can be used to extract serious money quickly via these scams.

If You Suspect Someone Is Using Your Sin

If you suspect that someone is using your SIN fraudulently, act quickly to prevent personal loss and minimize the negative impact.

  • File a complaint with the police. Ask for the case reference number and the officer’s name and telephone number. If you choose to obtain a copy of the police report, make sure it states your name and SIN.
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. The national anti-fraud call centre is jointly managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Competition Bureau Canada. They provide advice and assistance about identity theft.
  • Ask for a copy of your credit report. Review it for any suspicious activity. Also check to see if your credit file should be flagged . To obtain additional information regarding fees and other requirements, please contact:
  • TransUnion: 1-800-663-9980
  • Inform your bank and creditors by phone and in writing about any irregularities.
  • Report any irregularities in your mail delivery to Canada Post, for example, opened envelopes, missing financial statements or documents.
  • Visit a Service Canada office and bring all the necessary documents with you proving fraud or misuse of your SIN. Also bring an original identity document . One of our officials will review your information and provide you with assistance and guidance.
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    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.

    If You Have Been Victim Of Fraud

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    You can ask for a new SIN only if you can prove that your SIN was used fraudulently.

    However, getting a new SIN will not necessarily protect you from fraud or identity theft. If someone else uses your old SIN as identification and the business does not check the person’s identity with the credit bureau, credit lenders may still ask you to pay the impostor’s debts. Each time, you will have to prove that you were not involved in the fraud.

    If we issue you a new SIN, you will need to contact all your financial institutions, creditors, pension providers and employers to ask them to update your files.

    Note: Service Canada cannot correct a credit file. It is up to you to contact your financial institution, report any discrepancies and have them resolved.

    If you have proof that someone else is using your SIN, an investigation is required.

    An indication that your SIN is being used fraudulently is when you receive a Notice of Reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency concerning undeclared earnings. This means that another person has used your SIN for employment purposes or to receive other taxable income.

    You must visit your nearest Service Canada Centre with your original proof of identity documents and provide proof that another person has used your SIN.

    Here’s what you will need to provide to Service Canada if you suspect someone is using your SIN:

    Read Also: What Percentage Of My Pay Goes To Social Security

    What Happens When Someone Uses Your Social Security Number To File Taxes

    Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your stolen personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must file a paper return.

    Why Do Employers Ask For Social Security Numbers On Applications

    Some employers require applicants to list their Social Security number when completing job applications. Employers may want your Social Security number to conduct a background check or credit check.

    The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates the use of background checks for employment. Employers must get your written permission before running a background check and must notify you about what they discover.

    In addition, several states have prohibited or limited the use of for job applicants. Most employers that do conduct these checks do not do so until you are further along in the hiring process than the initial application.

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    Dont Give It Out To Strangers

    You should never provide your SSN to someone you dont know who calls you on the phone and requests it. This same warning applies to unsolicited emails and any forms you fill out on the internet. In general, dont give your SSN to anyone unless you are absolutely certain they have a reason and a right to have it.

    Monitor Your Bank And Credit Card Accounts

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    Keep close tabs on your bank and credit card balances. This is one way to make sure your SSN and identity have not been compromised. Many banks let you sign up for account alerts. They will send you text messages or call you if transactions exceed a certain amount or if someone tries to use your SSN to access your account.

    Check your on a regular basis at You can usually only do this once a year for free, but due to COVID-19, you are allowed to get free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022. If the Social Security Administration is still sending you an annual statement detailing your earnings, and it looks out of whack, someone might be using your number for employment purposes. You can register to get statements at the SSA website.

    The three credit reporting bureaus are offering free weekly credit reports via through April 20, 2022, due to the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    When Is It Safe To Give Your Social Security Number Online

    Your social security number is an important part of your identity, and if it falls in wrong hands, then you might have to face some serious problems. It can be used to steal your identity and could have financial implications as well. It can be used to commit criminal acts in your name and carry out frauds.

    The social security number is also used to assess the credit worthiness of a person before a lender extends a loan. Without a social security number that is backed by a clean history, you cannot get a loan at low rates.

    However, many people are in a habit of giving their social security number for all kinds of reasons. The commercial world appears to have a practice of asking for social security numbers for everything, due to which most people do not hesitate in giving them. This is dangerous, as you cant easily spot a crook who wants to misuse your social security number. You cannot stop giving out the number as then you would find it difficult to participate in any commercial activity. Therefore, you need to make a distinction between legitimate demands for your social security number and traps that are laid out for you.

    You need to recognize which businesses genuinely need your social security number and refuse to give the number to others. Credit card companies or other creditors require the number for checking your credit history. Various government schemes will also ask for the number before you can get their benefits.

    Thoughts On Ebay Will Require Full Social Security Numbers In 2022

  • Dingdongsays:

    I cant believe all the information to be given to eBay.You know . . . .The Tech Savy eBay that has glitches galore.

    I dont mind giving to paypal and stripe since they are professional money transmitters, but to willy nilly to all these different sites no way.I dont mind selling on a slower site that offers paypal, stripe, check and such.

    The scammers are having a good time with the sellers, wait for the hackers.

  • SenatorsWifesays:

    EVERY platform will require your full social security number in 2022. If you dont like it . . . have a garage sale and collect cash. People need to get over it. This is simple, if you dont want to give it to ebay . . . dont sell on ebay. Go find another platform that does not require it. Quit whining and complaining..

  • pantherestatessays:

    ooooo do you know a place dear?

  • Ronnsays:
  • tsme35says:

    It pop up on FB market place yesterday requiring SSN if you sell and ship. Was mention that the poor would not pay more taxes is wrong with the new President. I run a business so have always paid taxes but this does hit the poor, even at the 20K, after you subtract shipping and fees, you only make at best $10k. Honestly, the time and paperwork for the $600 requirement probably cost the Government more then what it will receive with paperwork and man hours.

  • jimcooncatsays:
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