In a Statement of Work from a client, there's a field for the Social Security Number or the Tax Identification Number in the Contractor details. The client wants this SoW sent back signed, over email, which is an insecure medium, so that that budget would be approved for the contract.

Is this request customary? What should a contractor do in this situation?

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    Encrypt the file, and provide the password by phone.
    – keshlam
    Mar 20, 2015 at 22:20
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    Nope, the only time I've ever given out my SSN is on mandatory government tax forms like a W9 (for the United States). I wouldn't trust them to have the unencrypted email in their HR (or whatever) department once I provided the password either. A phone call asking why they need my SSN would be my next step. Mar 20, 2015 at 22:35
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    @AndrewBartel: they want the SSN so they can pay the contractor. Mar 20, 2015 at 22:37
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    I have never seen an SoW require the SSN though. That is usually dealt with in a separate document. Mar 21, 2015 at 1:13
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    Assuming this is the US, the standard practice is a particular form called a W9, I assumed they wanted it for something else since they didn't give you that. But if it's about taxes, on either end, they should be using that, I'm a little confused why they aren't. Mar 22, 2015 at 3:16

1 Answer 1


Reply that you will submit a W9 form (by fax or regular mail) after the contract is signed.

If you are a company, you should also have a EIN/TIN which is not your SSN and you can supply that one, as those are difficult to use for identity theft purposes.

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    Indeed, later I was asked to fill in a W9 anyway. Apr 2, 2015 at 21:02

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