Do you care about identity theft? You certainly should. Nearly thirty million U.S. homes had a malware infection on their computers over the past year — and about 16 million households felt the effects of identity theft.
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Usually you are not legally collemped to provide your Social Security number to private businesses unless you are involved in a transaction in which the Internal Revenue Service requires notification. The Patriot Act requires financial institutions to verify customers’ identities, which can involve the SSN.There is no law, however, that prevents businesses from requesting your SSN, and there are few restrictions on what businesses can do with it. But even though you are not legally required to disclose your SSN, the business does not have to provide you with service if you refuse to release it. So in a sense, you are strong-armed into giving your SSN. This is often the case when applying for insurance and opening utility accounts.But don’t give up. Be sure to ask if there is an alternate number that you can provide to the company, such as your driver’s license number. Also ask if you can provide a deposit rather than giving your SSN to the company. Generally they only ask if they are looking to run your credit report, which most insurance companies will do when evaluating you for coverage.