On SSN Overuse: Fight the Power!

by on October 18, 2007 · 2 comments

I’ve documented a couple of times my frustration with organizations that try to collect a Social Security Number for payments that don’t require it. The IRS does not require reporting of expense reimbursements, which are not income, and income of under $600 (total in a year) is also not subject to reporting. Small payments and reimbursements do not require an SSN.

I’m happy to report that a multinational media conglomerate that initially refused to reimburse my travel expenses for a conference at which I spoke has relented. They reimbursed my travel expenses without collecting my SSN.

It took a lot of patience. I had to speak to three or four different people in the organization, each of whom believed that their corporate policy should naturally trump my personal policy. But I suspect that my persistence and courtesy caused someone to pick up the phone to someone else and say, “Oh, just pay him, will ya’?”

This kind of thing is a good exercise because the next person will have an easier time of it. Do yourself and your neighbor a favor and refuse sharing your SSN when it’s not needed, mkay?

  • http://www.sabreean.com Constance Reader

    Easier said than done. I moved a couple of weeks ago and tried to establish my new utility accounts without giving my social security number. It was possible to do so, but only if I was willing to make hefty deposits against future utility bills (the electric company wanted $200). So even though nobody is supposed to require your SSN, they penalize you for exercising your right not to provide it.

    My credit union also requires you to verify your identity with your SSN (along with address and telephone number) when you call them on the phone.

    I will never understand the thinking that goes on in corporations and other entities that believe identity and privacy can be protected by requiring callers to speak their SSNs out loud where anybody within earshot can make note of it, especially when the call also includes provision of your address and telephone number.

  • http://www.sabreean.com Constance Reader

    Easier said than done. I moved a couple of weeks ago and tried to establish my new utility accounts without giving my social security number. It was possible to do so, but only if I was willing to make hefty deposits against future utility bills (the electric company wanted $200). So even though nobody is supposed to require your SSN, they penalize you for exercising your right not to provide it.

    My credit union also requires you to verify your identity with your SSN (along with address and telephone number) when you call them on the phone.

    I will never understand the thinking that goes on in corporations and other entities that believe identity and privacy can be protected by requiring callers to speak their SSNs out loud where anybody within earshot can make note of it, especially when the call also includes provision of your address and telephone number.

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