WHO CAN ASK FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER?
Any business can ask for
your Social Security number. However there are only a few
sources that have the right to insist on you giving them
your SSN. For example, the Department of Motor Vehicles,
the IRS and welfare departments can all demand your SSN
when conducting business with them. Also, whenever you
are participating in any sort of transaction that
involves taxes, your SSN is going to be required by the
broker, bank or employer that you are working with.
You will also be required to
provide your SSN when applying for any type of loan or
Almost every other type of businesses has no legal right
to demand your Social Security number.
According to Carolyn Cheezum of the Social Security
Administration, "There is no law preventing a business
from requesting your Social Security number. However,
people don't realize that they can say no.".
A good idea is to request for the acceptance of a
different piece of identification. If the business you
are working with will not allow this, and you are not
100% comfortable providing them with your SSN, do
not continue your business transaction. Keep in mind that
they also have the right to stop refuse your business if
you do not provide your SSN.
However, legitimate businesses
will continue to do business with you even if you do not
provide them with your Social Security Number. For
example, LIPA, the Long Island Power Authority, will ask
for your SSN when opening an account, but it is not
Another common place where you will be asked for SSN, but
not required to give it, are doctors' offices. You never
have to give any doctor or hospital your Social Security
Often, companies will utilize a
'question and answer' procedure when people do not wish
to provide their SSN. For example, Verizon headquarters
in New York says they have a questionnaire that they use
to help determine an individual's payment history. The
problem with this is the ability for the applicant to be
In conclusion, you will be
obligated to provide your SSN during any transaction
dealing with taxes, as well as dealings with Department
of Motor Vehicles, the IRS and welfare departments. Never
give your social security number to anyone if you are not
100% certain that there is a good reason to.
You can learn more about
how to keep your SSN safe.
More helpful information related to identity theft:
Dealing With Identity Theft