The Yahoo article 5 Places Where You Should Never Give Your Social Security Number inspired this one. Basically their warnings to you, US-based citizens and residents, is that you should not need to give your Social Security Number (SSN) to:
- Anyone who calls or sends you an official-looking email, who texts you a link to any site or designates a number to call where you are asked to confirm your SSN.
- Public schools – because your utility bill confirms your address. Your email and phone number give them channels to contact you in an emergency.
- Little League, summer camp and the like – SSN should never be required by these groups.
- Supermarkets – a frequent shopper card is neither a loan, nor a bank account.
- Anybody who approaches you on the street.
Now while some of those might be common-sense, let me share with you an experience I had. About a month ago, a company I do business with called me and left a message. On returning the call, the lady said she needed to verify my information including my Social Security Number to prove that I was indeed the party they needed to speak with. I verified the other information and say, “You should not have my social security number because I have never provided that to you, and you shouldn’t need it” to which she responded, “Actually we do have it and there are services we can use to get it if not provided by you“. Can you imagine!!!
According to the official website of the Social Security Administration, the SSN is important to get a job, collect social security benefits, and receive governmental services.
Officially, it says:
Social Security number is important because you need it to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and receive some other government services. Many other businesses, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number. If you are a non-citizen living in the United States, you also may need a Social Security number. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Non-citizens (Publication No. 05-10096). If you are temporarily in the United States to work, see Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10107).
So, it can be inferred that you must provide your SSN to an employer, in order to collect social security benefits, or for other governmental services, banks, and credit companies. For others, you may not need to provide one.
It is therefore imperative that you be careful who you give your social security number to. In fact, you cannot be more careful with the rising number of identity theft being carried out including, but not limited to, people filing tax returns using your SSN and name. Unless it’s one of the above entities, you may need to be very certain they should have your SSN. Now, certain companies will ask for the last 4 digits of your SSN. That should be fine for most reputable businesses but not your entire SSN.