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 Revealing Social Security Number on Applications - Is it necessary?
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Vera
Trainee

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  09:38:49 AM
I am just getting started and am applying for as many companies as I can--trying to determine the reputable ones. It bothers me that some REQUIRE entering my social security number in their on-line apps. I don't mind giving it to them if they hire me and need it for payroll, but don't think it should be required on an initial application. I have sent e-mails to J. M. Ridgeway and atopshop.com asking if there is an alternative way to register but they have not responded.
Does this bother anybody else?

Vera

Cath
Star Contributor

USA
703 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  10:19:24 AM
Many of them do require it. They have tax laws that they need to follow and often need your tax ID in order to process 1099s etc. It is probably much easier and more effective for them to collect all the info that they need right up front rather than trying to get it from you later, if you should do an assignment.
You will find that you might register for a company today and may never get a job from them as they may not have any in your state. You may also find that you hear back right away and get assignments almost immediately.
You might not hear back from the firms regarding your concern of social security number right away. The person that responds to inquiries may only work during the week and not weekends.
Good luck with your mystery shopping. Keep good records before it catches up with you!

MSPA "Go To Shopper" 2006
MSPA Gold Certified, July 2003.
MSPA Gold Certified Shoppers Panel, Washington, DC, November 7, 2003.
Specializing in hotels, resorts and restaurants since 2002.
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AMSWayne
Member

Aiea, HI
USA
20 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  11:01:14 AM  Visit AMSWayne's Homepage
On MS companies that do require SSN's, I investigate the company by searching the forums on Volition--to see if they have good general comments. I prefer not to leave my sensitive information, if it is not required, since I would be following up with an email to the proper department/personnel to let them know if they have any questions about my application. For myself, I currently have an ongoing business so I have integrated my MS with the business. I use my Taxpayer ID number in lieu of my SSN.

Mahalo!

Wayne O
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Shasha
Valued Contributor

MS Gulf Coast
USA
241 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  11:13:18 AM
You will find almost all mystery shopping companies will ask for your ssn. If you must give it out, make sure the website is secure. I have seen some companies that will wait and collect it when you perform your first shop with them. Ollie808 had an excellent idea. Use volition.com to research any companies before completing their application. By using the forum, you will get good sound advice about the mystery shopping companies out there.

Good luck!

mystery shopping along the mississippi gulf coast & mobile, al
mspa silver certified
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Brynne_OH
Contributor

Rocky River, OH
USA
67 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  11:34:17 AM
My hint for this is if you are on an unsecure site, use 000-00-0000 as your SS#. This will be obvious that it is not your correct number and they can get the number from you when needed. This will however get you past the automatic form checks that come up as incorrect when no information is filled into a required field.
HTH,
Brynne

MSPA Silver Certified
Shopping Western Cleveland and Suburbs
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Janice-NoVA
Star Contributor

Reston, Virginia
USA
300 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  2:04:40 PM  Send Janice-NoVA an AOL message
I called Maritz about this and they said to just put in all ones and they would get your SSN later when you signed the contractor agreement. It doesn't say that on their site and since it isn't secure they should just leave the field off.

Janice Porter

Janice Porter
Shops Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC
Gold Certified June 2003
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.Marina
Inactive

USA
24 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  2:16:30 PM
Please understand the "other side" concerns. How the company would allocate their required tax deductions to an IC without SSN# or EIN#? IRS may not allowed name only, this what SSN# is asked for, to prove legit deduction. With ability to pick who's getting jobs, MS company may not give any opportunities to earn to anyone who wouldn't comply, reasoning that there is no job.
But I'm not going to send my SSN# on unsecure web page and to the company who doesn't have a privacy policy intact.

Marina
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1853 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2003 :  3:09:33 PM
The IRS requires them to ask. It does NOT require you to give it. Use the 0s or 1s. Some companies won't allow that. Then you can use the "sample" number -- 078-05-1120. It's recognized as a sample, and won't put you in danger of tax evasion laws. Note that not giving out your SSN does not relieve you of the taxes. If it's a privacy issue for you, use the sample.

More information on privacy and SSN at http://www.networkusa.org/fingerprint.shtml

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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Vera
Trainee

USA
7 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2003 :  7:12:17 PM
Julie:
I followed the link you posted, but did not find anywhere that talked about using a sample social security number. Don't want to insult you, but I'm a trust but verify kinda person. What is your source for that information?

Vera
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MichelleWA
Member

Sammamish, WA
USA
23 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2003 :  10:55:25 PM  Visit MichelleWA's Homepage  Send MichelleWA an AOL message
I had a lovely reply all typed out and ready to post, and, of course, my computer managed to completely crash. Ugh.

For most of the sites that require an SSN during registration, I've used all 0s and made a note in my own records that I'll need to contact the company about that if/when I accept an assignment with them. I've emailed a couple of companies that asked for my SSN directly and told them I was uncomfortable giving out my SSN (especially over email) at that time, but understood that I would need to before being paid for assignments. I've never had an argument about it. Companies are going to have different policies, so contacting them directly is probably the best option if it's a concern.

I looked for information about the 'sample number' on the SSA web site and found this interesting story. I couldn't find anything about it in relation to tax evasion, but it does say "SSA acted to eliminate the problem by voiding the number and publicizing that it was incorrect to use it."

http://www.ssa.gov/history/ssn/misused.html
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1853 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2003 :  11:54:52 PM
Hi Vera,

The majority of that site is about privacy issues, with a large part devoted to the social security number.

If you are looking for specific information on using a sample social security number, try http://www.cpsr.org/cpsr/privacy/ssn/SSN-addendum.html#FakeNumbers. Note that it says
quote:
There are legal penalties for providing a false number when you expect to gain some benefit from it.
I'd never advocate trying to get around taxes by using someone else's number (had this happen to me.) And I certainly wouldn't use the sample number with a government entity.

More resources for social security information:
http://www.ssa.gov/history/ssn/misused.html <<--the story behind the "sample" number
http://www.mycrypto.net/privacy/ssn.html <<--government use vs. private use
http://www.ca.uky.edu/agcollege/fcs/FACTSHTS/FAM-RHF-111.PDF <<--Do you know where your social security number is right now? (Includes info on sample number.)

Not insulted ;-). Don't believe everything you read on the Net.

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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