I have been asked for a work reference for a new house rental contract with a private landlord. This is just a reference to prove that I am in full time employment.

The Human Resources team have kindly provided this, but I have noticed that they have included my National Insurance number on the reference. Is this right?

The letter has both my name and National Insurance number. I trust my landlord, but I am concerned that the practice of including the NI could at some point lead to identity fraud for someone who ends up with a bad landlord.

Should I be worried? Or am I misunderstanding what can be achieved by having someone's name, address and National Insurance number?

  • 1
    Can you edit your question to include your location? Might help those of us from countries that don't use an NI to understand what you're talking about.
    – dwizum
    May 2, 2018 at 19:42
  • 1
    @dwizum The location is in the tag. United Kingdom
    – Dan_h_b
    May 3, 2018 at 9:17

1 Answer 1


From a me perspective:

While not being that great of an identifier alone a national insurance number can be somewhat loosely used as a means of identifying an individual. This alongside other personally identifying information could lead to higher risks of identity fraud, the more of it there is the more identifiable you become. If we were being pedantic then yes there is a reasonable chance of identity fraud but also at the same time this all sounds within the realm of things I'd expect to be providing a landlord whose property I'm renting out. I suppose they would be leaving this down to you to handle if that's how HR have given you the information.

In regards to Human Resources:

The best principle I could think of would be 'as much as is fundamentally necessary', simply put if there is no need for it to be on said document it should be removed. Which in the case of a work reference, If your landlord isn't requiring it then there's no reason to be presenting it.

  • 2
    From experience there are very strict rules on use on NI - I worked for BT a while back and we got read the riot act and told that any misuse even on internal systems would be treated as gross misconduct. May 2, 2018 at 9:48
  • 1
    I agree from a HR perspective it's likely that for a work reference NI isn't needed and should be removed to leave only what's necessary (and possibly update there polices?). Though given OP's scenario as a user I wouldn't feel too worried about it.
    – li x
    May 2, 2018 at 9:54
  • Thank you both for your answer. @li x I wasn't sure which group to ask this in & did look at the information security group, but all the questions and tags I saw on there seemed to be around IT security.
    – Dan_h_b
    May 2, 2018 at 9:56

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