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To be clear, I'm an independent contractor: people come to their website and ask for services, and I reply to the ones I can help with. If they decide to go with me, all payment goes through the website owners and I get a certain percentage. This is a national company.

The problem is that I recently agreed to their offer of getting a background check, the results of which will be displayed on my profile page there. It should have no difficulty going through, except that I'd forgotten that the name I use on the website is what I go by (middle and last name), and not my first name. When they noticed this, they sent me an email with the background check results, including my SSN, through regular email, and asked me to reply with my documentation (driver's license and Soc.Sec. card).

It bothers me greatly that they sent the results, unencrypted, without any concerns for my privacy. I am going to ask them if I can send the docs via fax, but is there any way that I can reasonably and productively ask them to not send me the new results of the background check results through email?

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    It sounds like this website is either your employer, or an agency that facilitates your freelancing. Either employer or agency would be a better noun in the title than contractor. – Kate Gregory May 14 '14 at 17:07
  • (1) Can you phone in the info they are requesting? (2) Can you work out whom to contact at the company to complain? I believe that by law, your SSN is supposed to be kept confidential. – Vietnhi Phuvan May 14 '14 at 17:28
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    Anyone who feels a need to do a background check on you should know what they are doing concerning people's private information. Some people just think email is secure and need to be informed. – user8365 May 14 '14 at 18:51
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I realize this answer is late but it may be of use to others.

Raise your concerns with them. Something like "Dear x, I noticed that you sent this information via email however I'd like any further communication to be done in a more secure manner" - should be enough. They may have a more secure way of dealing with these things (doubtful, but worth a try).

Alternatively, you may want to do everything via the postal route. I, personally, don't think of it being any more secure but I know others do.

A final option is to do your research and suggest a really simple way to make things more secure (ask around in an IT security forum) which both parties can use.

Finally, if you're still unhappy, you need to weigh up the risks and consequences of having your personal information compromised against the usefulness of the services provided by that party.

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