You hear a lot of information about when not to give out your Social Security number, but when are you required to reveal it?
The short (and incomplete) answer is: any time you’re doing something that involves taxable income.
A little more specifically, you’re probably going to be required to provide your SSN in the following situations:
- Opening a new account at a financial institution
- When you get a new job
- When obtaining or renewing your driver’s license or other state-issued identification
- Conducting business involving government welfare or healthcare (Medicare, for example)
Aside from those situations, be very cautious about sharing your number. Actually, be very cautious anyway, but in other situations you would be wise to ask:
- Why your number is needed
- How your number will be used
- What happens if you refuse
- What law requires you to give your number
Finally, be extremely cautious (read: don’t do it at all) when it comes to people asking for your Social over the telephone or Internet, especially if they initiated the contact with you. If you can’t verify who the requesting entity is (as well as the answers to the four questions above), refuse to share your number.