My college age son is job hunting here in California, and a few large employers (Lowe's, Sears, Michael's) are requiring his social security number as part of the application process. The process halts if he doesn't enter it on their web site as part of the application. I saw a 1 similar question, but the link in the accepted answer no longer includes the quoted material. So I assume it's legal to ask for a SSN, but is it a good idea to give it? I can understand handing it over once you accept a job, but before?
EDIT: I had seen the "recruiter wants my SSN" question, and I believed it to be different in that it's not the employer but a headhunter asking, who may or may not have a real relationship with the employer, so, yeah, no way I would surrender it to him. I understand that it's likely more efficient for the prospective employer to collect data up front and then discard it if necessary. And that they can pay $$ to weed out fakes far up front, and that might be cost effective for them. Beyond that, what is their purpose? If they get SSN from every minimum wage job seeker, they now have a big list of potential liabilities for the next time they get hacked (I'm looking at you Target). What am I not seeing here?