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We talk a lot about privacy issues and ways to avoid identity theft. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to avoid giving out your Social Security number just because someone asks for it. For example, many scam callers will ask for this and other confidential information by saying they are calling from the IRS or even from a charity. The IRS already has your Social Security number. A charity does not need your Social Security number. But who does have a legal right to your number and who does not?
Many businesses have no legal right to your Social Security number. They can ask for it, but many people don’t know they can refuse to provide it. Unfortunately, the use of Social Security numbers in business transactions has become so routine that far too many businesses ask for it and many people think it is required.
The organizations that can require your Social Security number are:
If another type of organization asks for your Social Security number, ask them why they need it and if they will take an alternative form of identification. Many will take another type of identification. Some may put you through some additional paperwork and a few may refuse to do business with you. You have to decide if it is a legitimate request for your Social Security number and if the consequences of not providing it outweigh your privacy issues. Remember, you always have the right to take your business elsewhere.
If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call at 513-868-9220. We are here to help; it is better to ask the questions before there is an issue.