Friday, March 25, 2011

Your Social Secruity Number- Keep it Private

A student recently stopped in to share that one of the positions posted on MU Career Manager asked for her Social Security Number in the initial online application. I was surprised by this so I decided to check it out for myself.

Indeed she was correct. In order to apply online, applicants need to include their Social Security Numbers. I decided this needed further investigation. I called the organization, which is local, and asked to speak to the Human Resources Department. As often happens, the person answering the phone was hesitant to put me through. I explained my concern and shared that I wanted to know why, at this initial stage, was a Social Security Number requested. Instead of putting me through she put me on hold and returned with a reply. She said that if candidates didn't want to provide it then they could just fill in all ones. What?!?!?!? No explanation was given as to why it was requested in the first place.

Here is my advice to job seekers with regard to confidential information:
  • Do NOT share your Social Security Number (or any other private information such as bank accounts [that's a whole other story!]) unless you know why it is being requested.
  • If it is requested, fill in the spaces with all ones or call and ask the purpose of such request.

Times when you might legitimately give your Social Security Number

  • At the time of hire, you will need to give it in order to be paid.
  • If a background check is required

Keep your private information private. Unfortunately, there are bad people out there who are looking to take advantage of job seekers. If you have a gut feeling something isn't right, let us know and we can check it out for you.


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