PRIVACY | 5 Places You should NEVER Give Your SSN



Identity Theft

Your identity is your biggest asset, and your Social Security number is the key to your master key to everything “you”.

With it an identity thief can wreak havoc on your life;  hijacking your credit accounts, creating new ones, buying cars and houses, in your name, only to slink back into the shadows and leave you pick up the pieces.

And don't think that the best way to avoid getting your identity stolen is by destroying your credit on your own… that's just not the case

So how do you protect your identity?

The best thing you can do just say no!

For better or worse, you are the person most responsible for shielding your Social Security Number. Therefore, your mission is to limit the amount of people who have access to it.

Here’s a short list of companies and organizations that have absolutely no business requesting your Social Security number:

1. Anyone who calls or sends you an official-looking email, who texts you a link to any site or designates a number to call where you are asked to confirm your SSN. If they call, check the credit or debit card that is the subject of the communication, call the customer service number listed on the back, and ask for the security department. If they email or text, do the same, or go directly to the institution’s website (provided you know who they are). Make sure you type the correct URL, and make sure that the page where you are asked to enter your information is secure. Only provide personal information if you’re the one who controls the interaction. Check out this one that I got just last week:

Fraudulent email

(It looks pretty legitimate until you notice that the “from” email address is a address and not from Chase)

2. Public schools: Your utility bills confirm your address; your email and phone number give them channels to contact you in an emergency. Asking for your Social Security number is a bit overkill.


3. Little League, summer camp and other extra curricular activities: For the same reasons as school, a Social Security number should never be required by these groups. If they ask for your child’s birth certificate, show it to them, don’t leave it with them unless they can prove they will protect it. And even then, can you really believe them?  If you use credit to pay for the activity, the organization may need your Social Security number but If you pay for it upfront or with a direct debit to your bank account or credit card, they don’t. Period.


4. Supermarkets: A frequent shopper card is neither a loan, nor a bank account. It’s merely a tool grocery stores use to track your purchases, primarily for marketing purposes. Regardless, many supermarket chains request customers’ Social Security numbers on their application forms. Refuse and leave it blank if they ask for it.


5. Anybody who approaches you on the street, It sounds dumb and like simple common sense, but so many people do this every day… Whether it’s a cell phone company salesman offering a free T-shirt or someone running a voter registration campaign: Never, ever give your SSN. If you want a T-Shirt buy one. If you want to register to vote, go to your county board of elections in person. never from a person on the street!


There are plenty of other organizations that should never get your Social Security number, and if you know one that I’ve left out, please let me know in  comments below

P.S. This quick reference chart from should give you an idea of who can require your Social Security number, but if all else fails ask questions.

Mandatory Optional
Credit applications Doctor and dentist intake forms
Cash transactions over $10,000 Supermarkets
When applying for certain federal benefits Drugstores
Military paperwork Preschools
The Department of Motor Vehicles Airlines

Parts of the information in this post were pulled from an article written by Adam Levine on

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  1. L. Burgin

    April 15, 2013 at 8:11 AM

    Just a note: Dr offices ask for ss for a reason. I worked at one where we had two people with the same name and same birth date off by only a day or two. When labs, etc. come in the only way to assure the lab does not get into the incorrect chart is through ss. That’s really important.

    • JJM

      April 15, 2013 at 9:02 AM

      “When labs, etc. come in the only way to assure the lab does not get into the incorrect chart is through ss.” WRONG – The only way is to use Due Diligence, Common Sense and Personal Attention. So if John Doe 1 has not been ordered tests or even seen for over a month, how can he be confused with John Doe 2 who was seen and tested on April 5?????

    • AVERY

      April 15, 2013 at 9:04 AM

      Guess what, they could use PHONE NUMBER instead of SSN!

      • d

        November 14, 2018 at 10:48 AM

        ……..and, any office can set up its own control number system to erase any possible confusion between patients or customers. Often, these control numbers are called customer ID numbers! The only reason that many businesses ask for and use SS numbers is that people freely give them up and the SS system is already in place!

    • steve

      April 15, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      “”Just a note: Dr offices ask for ss for a reason. I worked at one where we had two people with the same name and same birth date off by only a day or two. When labs, etc. come in the only way to assure the lab does not get into the incorrect chart is through ss. That’s really important.””

      there are other ways to identify people without having access to their ss number. sorry but that is a poor excuse to me to require someone’s personal (PRIVATE)information…

      • Monica

        November 14, 2018 at 9:38 AM

        If they have an Insurance card that should be sufficient. My son was 12 when he was injured in a sporting event. He is on “my” Insurance. No need to release that info especially a child’s SS number. I was the responsible party. No office clerk should be entitled to that information for obvious reasons. You health care card (insurance card) has an ID number no longer a SS number. It is a violation of your privacy & can be used for fraudulent purposes . Protect yourself and your kids, never give up your Social Security number!

    • John

      April 16, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      There’s such a thing as a Patient Number that can have the same tracking ability as a SSN. It would be incompetence not to double or triple check the Patient Number when doing lab work or any other work for that matter.

  2. Shirley

    April 15, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    I have worked at a Dr.’s office, and the ss number was required by the Health Insurance companies as their means of identifying the patient. It was not needed by our office staff.

    On another matter, Elementary Schools request you to provide your Driver’s License, and they scan the electronic tape on the back into their system to see if you have had a conviction for a sex crime, before allowing you to enter the school. This safety protocol is supposed to protect our children, however, any person who has been convicted of a sex crime has the words “OFFENDER” in red letters on the front of his DL, so there is no real need to scan the tape on the back. The problem with that is that electronic data on the back of the DL also includes your finger prints (someone could copy them and paste them to rubber gloves and commit a crime, and you’d do the time); your ss number; and in some states, your tax ID (if different) and a copy of your last tax form; and information on any crimes you have committed; time you have served; outstanding warrants; etc., basically almost everything about you that is confidential. Now, the little gossip at the front desk of the school, as well as all of the employees in the Principal’s office, knows all of your business! It even lists whether or not you possess a CHL, so the bad guys that hack the school system (often students) will know where to go to get your guns … AND … so will the government!!!

    • J cav

      November 14, 2018 at 11:42 PM

      What does that have to do with giving ones SS# ??? In Pennsylvania, there are multi background checks that ARE MANDATORY BEFORE ANYONE CAN DO ANY ACTIVITIES WITH CHILDREN ANYWHERE, school, church, scouts,etc… These backround checks are done by our State police, AND Federal authorities, FBI So the DL issue is Mute in states that do REAL CHECKS to protect our children!!!!!!!!!

  3. Rachele

    April 15, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Life & Health Insurance requires your SSN. It used to be optional, but it is required now. There are several laws that require agents to obtain it now and you can be turned down if it is not provided.

    Also be careful about letting schools & businesses photocopy yours or your child’s birth certificates and/or SS cards as all copiers had internal hard drives that keep a copy of everything and 99% of businesses are not erasing these hard drives before getting rid of them & identity theives are buying up old copiers and pulling the hard drives to steal people’s identities. They focus mostly on school, any type of medical establishment & any police or government office as these don’t erase them either. If the business needs a copy I show them my original then provide a copy to them I’ve copied on my own home printer. This will work in a majority of situations.

    • John Nicoletti

      April 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      I was in the insurance business for forty years, and every application asked for the SS number. I never had a problem with my customers when asking for the necessary information. Then again, in the seventies, eighties, and nineties,identify theft was not a problem

  4. Charlie

    April 16, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    In 1968 when I was augmented into the Regular Air Force, my service number changed from “FV” to “FR”. Same ole number I’d had for years. A couple of years later, despite the law that said that SSNs were not for identification (check the old law from the 30s) the Department of Offence/Defense decided to convert everyone to using their SSN. I have no idea how many checks of mine in Texas, Nebraska and California have my SSN, but to do business on a military installation, your check had to have that number.

    One wonders what genius in Fort Fumble decided to make that change, and why?

  5. John

    April 16, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Has anybody ever checked and read the rest of the CARD that your SSN comes on? You really should.

  6. richard1941

    April 16, 2013 at 9:49 PM

    Bad news: you really have no private information. Under current Federal law, the gubbermint can order anybody with information about you to deliver it. One of the worst offenders is your cell phone provider. They not only have financial and payment history, with links to your bank account, but they can also deliver to the gubbermint any text messages you were dumb enough to trust them with.

    As for your medical privacy policy, look at the fine print at the bottom, “We may change this policy at any time without notice.”

    Coming next: they will probably get your DNA sequence and file it with the Department of Homeland Security. That will make us all feel a lot safer from those evil terrorists. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I am tempted to become a terrorist myself!

    And you can be certain they are reading this message and all of the other postings here. They will probably designate all of you as trouble makers and put you on the top secret “no guns allowed” list.

  7. Patriot1

    April 17, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    @ Richard1941, to be sure, the supreme court has said that owning a firearm is an individual RIGHT, but on the flip side of that, buying, owning or possessing the ammo for that gun, well….., let’s just say, you better have some of that ammo stashed away that the govmint doesn’t know about or you’ll end up with having the throw the gun at the bad to defend yourself if he ever wants to kill or rape you!!! Owning ammo is NOT a right!!!!!

    And I’m sure that one of these days EVERY piece of info, including your SSN, will be required if you want to have anything to do with firearms, which is really too bad since firearms really do SAVE lives but the media won’t print or report that!!

  8. Pingback: 5 Places You should NEVER Give Your SSN | Absolute Rights

  9. Deerflyguy

    September 20, 2014 at 1:58 AM

    Are they asking for your SS number?
    Remember that your SS number is an ACCOUNT NUMBER!
    Banks and savings institutions need it mainly because they must report interest to the Internal Revenue Service, but others DO NOT need it, it makes their day easier, because a SS number actually is a fine way for them to determine who they are dealing with. Just remember that your SS number is unique and is your government account number, and as such, should be kept away from everyone who does not have an interest in your account! It was never issued to be a universal means of identification, and for your peace of mind, it should never be used as such! Personally, I always refuse to give it to anyone whom I don’t believe has any financial, or governmental, mandate or purpose, and that goes especially for phone companies, cable TV companies, credit card applications, and other utilities.

  10. Tome

    December 29, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    You are wrong about the military. Your SS. number is your service number anymore. Everything I do with V.A. is using my Social Security number. Adult services uses your SS. number. Seems almost anything I do is under SS. Number! No I will not give it on line. But most everything else uses it.

    • Echo Moon

      December 29, 2016 at 7:12 PM

      military is listed under “mandatory”.

      • Tome

        December 29, 2016 at 7:29 PM

        Still in this report it said not the military! If I knew your true name I could go on line and find your SS. Number. it is there somewhere.

  11. 2ndfundamentalist

    December 29, 2016 at 1:34 PM

    I also don’t give it out at my doctor’s office!

  12. Kimberly Owen

    December 29, 2016 at 7:25 PM

    back in the day – my college ID number (that we used for everything ) was our SS# 🙁 – it’s how I learned it by heart though…. – Hopefully no one is poking around those old files….. 🙁 –

    • marlene

      December 30, 2016 at 2:15 AM

      LOL – I have forgotten a password I used yesterday, but decades later I still remember by college ID number.

    • bluesea

      January 3, 2017 at 10:24 PM

      I graduated College in 1969 and I still remember my student i.d. number along with my SSN, Drivers License, and first phone number from the 50’s.

  13. Kimberly Owen

    December 29, 2016 at 7:25 PM

    Oh the other place I’ve been asked in Employment applications!!! Sorry no – once you hire me, then you can have that…. !!!!! 🙁

  14. PRINCE4EVER O(->

    December 30, 2016 at 1:07 AM

    I just make one up.

  15. marlene

    December 30, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    You can’t get on an airline without a DMV ID card which has your SSN on it. You can’t get a DMV ID card without proof of your SSN.

  16. fizzlecat

    January 4, 2017 at 3:22 PM

    When getting emails like this, usually you can get red flags just by bad grammar and misspelled words! Pays to know your English!

  17. Gerry White

    November 14, 2018 at 7:13 AM

    I used to live in/near San Diego. While I truly have nothing against immigrants, the illegal ones sometimes wind up getting a bogus SSN from their “handlers”. Because of that, your SSN may NOT be unique.

    Just a heads-up, gang…

  18. Allen

    November 18, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    Police will sometimes request ss#. They DO NOT have a legitimate use for it and you should not give it. Just because they are in a position of “authority” is no reason to ‘fess it up”. I have had this happen and the Trooper admitted I was correct. After all, they probably already have your license or other I.D.

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