Employees fear identity theft? Too bad: They still must provide social security numbers

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Question: No doubt you’ve read plenty about con artists stealing Social Security numbers (SSNs) to obtain fraudulent credit cards. And, unfortunately, your HR personnel files are a goldmine for ID thieves, filled with all kinds of juicy personal data.

But a new court ruling shows that the rise in identity theft doesn’t excuse employees from disclosing their SSNs to employers. You can and must insist on getting this data for I-9, background-check and tax-reporting reasons. And you needn’t fear a lawsuit if you refuse to hire (or later fire) new employees who fail to provide the information.

Case in Point: When John McCauley was hired for a computer help-desk job, HR asked him to fill out several employment forms. He left the section blank that asked for his SSN. He also asked the recruiting manager whether he could skip providing the number on his I-9 form. McCauley was apparently concerned that...(register to read more)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan April 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm

The ONLY reason to ever put your SSN on any applications materials, is if the company is doing a background check. And those are only done immediately prior to a job offer. IN addition, the company is required to get your written permission before doing the background check.

On a side note, as a prior employee of BCBS, it is NOT mandatory to have your SSN be your medical ID. As Keith said, ‘”Because it’s the policy” isn’t good enough.’

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Keith March 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm

You can – and should – refuse to put your SSN on any applications materials. You should provide that information only upon being hired for a position. If an employer requires your SSN before an offer of employment is made, you really need to find out why. “Because it’s the policy” isn’t good enough.

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