The recruiter says they will need it to create my security ID as the role is through a vendor management system. Does this sound legit?

  • @Lilienthal There is a significant difference between asking for the entire SSN and asking for the last three digits, so I think these questions are different. – David K Nov 3 '15 at 20:51
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    Though after reading Justin's comment on Michael's answer, the difference may not be as significant as I had thought. – David K Nov 3 '15 at 20:53
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    @DavidK Though it may or may not be as dangerous as releasing your full SSN, the core of the question is the same: a recruiter asking for personal information he has no business asking about. Even ignoring the SSN, there's no reason why a company would ever need your DOB except to steal your identity. Any system that requires such information from people who aren't employees doesn't deserve to be called a security system and it's a giant red flag even if it is a genuine request. – Lilienthal Nov 3 '15 at 21:40

Never use an SSN or part of an SSN as ID. Never give out all or part of your SSN unless required by law.

This may be innocuous, but SSN number are not random, and even having the last 3 could expose you to risk. If you do not have to give your SSN to verify employment eligibility, then don't give anyone that information.

In general, using all or part of an SSN number as ID opens you to identity theft. This number is used company wide, and any unscrupulous employee could combine this with other information (like DOB) to steal your identity.

The best course of action is to simply explain you do not give all or part of your SSN to anyone due to identity theft concerns. I doubt the recruiter or company knows this is a security hole, but it is.

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  • Yes this fact is true. The parts of your SSN can give clues as to what year you were born, what area of the world you were born in, etc, etc. I personally would be very hesitant in giving my SSN to a Dr's office much less a random recruiter who would be known to share your information with other recruiters. – Dan Nov 3 '15 at 21:25

As far as I know, a recruiter should not need that data. Decline and/or change recruiters.

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    I never got asked this question either. Your SSN is vital and sharing it in a recruiter system sounds dangerous as anything. – Dan Nov 3 '15 at 18:51

This is most likely a sub agency who is working through a preferred agency that is following an agreement set with the end client (who you will be working for).

I am guessing it is a larger company with a more robust IT security group. I understand know what the security risks for releasing this information is, and have no good reasons for why company's ask for it as opposed to other, less intrusive forms of verification.

Unfortunately this puts a lot of people in a tricky position. While it does sound legit as I have heard of this process employed by a large number of corporations, there are some security considerations.

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    I'd be careful about the "does not expose you to much risk". Assuming your SSN was assigned before 2011, the last 4 digits of your SSN are the only digits that are really "secret". The first 5 digits are pretty easy to guess knowing someone's date of birth and where they were born. That's why "last 4 digits of the SSN" is the question that banks ask to confirm your identity. Giving away 3 of the 4 means that for most people, you've given an attacker 8 of the 9 digits. Guessing the full SSN from there is not particularly difficult. – Justin Cave Nov 3 '15 at 19:04
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    That is really interesting data. I was not aware of that. Thank you for sharing. – Michael Doran Nov 3 '15 at 19:06
  • Welcome to the site Michael. Given Justin's comment, I suggest you significantly edit your answer as the current version is giving dangerous advice and is likely to incur downvotes as a result. I should also point out that you wouldn't normally fill in your SSN on a job application. If you feel that your answer isn't salvageable, though I don't think it is, you can choose to delete it. – Lilienthal Nov 3 '15 at 22:33

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