Don't give out your SSN during job interviews

by Andi Boggs | May 5, 2017

There are countless reasons why criminals or even immigrants may want to steal your social security number - for identify theft or to apply for a job or benefits or to open up a credit card and more.

Yesterday I went to a job interview for a shady company that seemed to me to be running a side operation of collecting people’s social security numbers (SSN) by offering fake interviews. They had mentioned over the phone that I would need to bring my ID and social security number with me. That sounded unusual, and I knew I would not be providing my social security number to them for security reasons but I went to the interview anyway.

While I was sitting in the lobby filling out their application, I left the "social security number (optional)" field empty. Two men walked in who appeared to be gentle, kind East African Muslims based on their clothing and religious headgear. The one who spoke said his boss had sent him in and he was translating for the other man. After some confusion in which it was not clear to me exactly why they were there, the front desk girl said there was nothing today and they smiled and left. Nothing what? Work? Social security numbers? Considering this was a security company offering security services to apartment complexes and other clients I found their appearance to be strange. I didn’t have any proof but it did support my suspicion that there was something shady going on with this company.

Before I was even interviewed by anyone, the front desk girl who seemed very inexperienced because she had to be instructed on how to take a phone message for a call that came in while I was there, asked to make a copy of my driver’s license and social security card which I didn’t even bring with me. I handed over my driver’s license and politely told her No in regards to my social security card.

She told me to wait a minute so she could find out what the next step would be. Less than a minute later another female employee came out and told me the girl whose position I was going to replace and she glanced at the chair of the front desk girl while saying this, wasn’t leaving anymore but they would keep my resume on file in case something came up. This seemed like a sudden change of plans, but I gladly left.

Unless you are applying for a job with a reputable institution I would suggest you never give out your social security number during a job interview- and especially not before they have even given you an interview!