Tampa, Here’s When (and When Not) to Put Your SSN on a Form
An SSN, or Social Security number, is the all-important piece of personal information that the government uses to track your lifetime earnings and the number of years you worked.
Social Security numbers are a unique identifier issued to all U.S. citizens to track their income and to determine benefits.
If this piece of information gets into the wrong hands, thieves can commit identity theft and take out credit on your behalf.
For this reason, it’s imperative to only give out your SSN to verified organizations.
When Should You Provide Your SSN?
There are two situations in which it’s required to provide your SSN. The first is when you’re doing something that is reportable to the IRS or state tax department. The second situation is when you are involved in a financial transaction subject to the Customer Identifier Program.
More specifically, you do need to give out your SSN to the following parties:
- IRS for federal loans and tax returns
- Employers for tax and wage reporting
- Banks/lenders for monetary transactions
- Federal and state agencies if applying for benefits
- Investment advisors and brokerage houses
- Department of Labor for workers’ compensation
- Companies facilitating real estate transactions
- Veterans’ Administration as a hospital admission number
- Department of Education for student loans
- States for commercial driver’s licenses
- U.S. Treasury for U.S. Savings Bonds
So when should you refuse to provide your SSN?
When to Refuse to Give Out Your SSN
Some organizations will ask for your SSN even if it’s not required for them to obtain it. This may be out of habit or to protect themselves in case of payment failures.
However, these places should not have possession of or do not require possession of your Social Security number:
- Colleges and universities
- Medical offices
- Health insurers
- Primary and secondary schools
- Summer camps
- Grocery stores and retailers
Most importantly, never give out your Social Security number over the phone.
Key Questions to Ask
If the organization asking for your SSN isn’t on any of these lists, you can do a few things to ensure your security. First, ask the other individual which law requires the organization to collect your SSN and have them explain the reason for their request.
Next, you can ask to provide a different form of identification. You can simply refuse to give it out if the organization cannot provide you with any logical reasoning for revealing your SSN.
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