Can a company ask for your social security number on an application filled out on-line?

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Can a company ask for your social security number on an application filled out on-line?

I noticed not all job applications filled out on-line ask for your social security number on the first application before you even speak or make any other contact with the company.

Asked on February 4, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Legally, someone--such as a company or prospective employer--may ask for a social security number at any time, including in an online application. Ultimately, it's a legitimate request for a possible employer, since the company needs to, at some point, verify eligibility to work and will also need it for tax reporting purposes. There is no law saying exactly when or how in the interviewing or hiring process a company may ask for this. That said, it's understandably worrisome to provde a social security number online, given the possibility of the number being hijacked or misdirected in some way. At a minimum, make *sure* this is a legitimate opportunity and company and not some sort of "phishing" scam trying to get identity information before providing.


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