If you ever receive a call out of the blue that asks for your social security number, beware; there might be a risk of identity theft! Evidently, there is a lot of confusion among the masses regarding where they should and shouldn’t share the SSN or Social Security Number. Therefore, here’s a complete guide to protect your rights.
SSN—A Brief Introduction
The Social Security Number is a numerical identifier that is assigned to every US citizen since birth. Its purpose is to track their income. At times, an SSN is given to some US residents as well.
Coming to who can legally ask for social security number, there is no law preventing any business from asking for it and, at the same time, refusing your involvement or service if you do not share your SSN.
For instance, you are not required to show your SSN to anyone for your departmental store loyalty cards. But when applying for a loan, mortgage, or credit cards, your bank will run through your SSN.
When Should You Refuse to Give Your Social Security Number
During a job application process, if the management demands your SSN, you are not bound to share it. Of course, when you become a registered employee of an organization, they have legitimate reasons to ask for it. Additionally, you must know that the Social Security Number lets one run a background check easily.
Please note, the employer can never reject your application on the grounds of not receiving your SSN. And if they do, you can definitely sue them.
At different times, the public schools may insist on having your SSN. But you can always talk to the authority to share any alternative ID, like the birth certificate or the driver’s license. In fact, if a public school sets a condition that one must apply with his or her Social Security Number for admission, it is illegal.
The only exception is when you are applying for financial aid, for the management would always have to verify your family’s economic standing.
In case a travel agent asks for your Social Security Number, you must always negate it. For booking the cars or hotel rooms, they, very clearly, don’t need your SSN. As a matter of fact, they are only fishing for information if they do so.
Show them your passport or driver’s license as any one of those will suffice.
When applying for certain government benefits, you have the right to know whether you have any obligation to share your SSN. If otherwise, then your service requests will be processed without the Social Security Number.
Unless the situation demands any credit card check, links to IRS or Medicaid, your health care provider has no reason to demand your SSN. In fact, for regular checkups, no doctor should ask for your SSN.
Hopefully, this helps you understand who can legally ask for your social security number. Please remember, your SSN is confidential information, and no one should have access to it unless and until there is a legal provision.