I really hate that we have to be so vigilant about identity theft these days. On top of running virtually everything through the paper shredder, we have to be careful about what info we enter into all those online forms we fill out.
The following article from PrivacyRights.org underscores this point. The article appeared in the Oct. 16, 2006 issue of The Career Digest, and is reprinted here with permission from The Career Digest.
Job Seekers: Protect your social security number
LOS ANGELES, CA -- Some legitimate online job application sites and employment kiosks may sometimes ask for your Social Security number (SSN) and date of birth prior to posting a resume or applying for a job. (For example, www.sportsauthority.com, www.albertsons.com, usajobs.opm.gov, studentjobs.gov, and many state job sites request this information.) Some of these sites conduct instant SSN matching or background checks on your information to verify it.
It is the position of the World Privacy Forum that you as a job seeker should never have to submit your SSN or date of birth prior to applying for a job, especially online where verification of where the SSN is going is more challenging. Broad dissemination of your SSN can lead to identity theft. It is appropriate for you to allow a serious employer to use your SSN and date of birth to conduct a background check after you have engaged in the interview process.
Not all sites that request your SSN and date of birth are legitimate. As a general rule, you should not supply this information up front, especially in combination with your credit card information.