recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

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recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby linuxuser » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:34 pm

I had a recruiter from a headhunting firm tell me that Verizon requires them to get the birth month and day and the last 4 digits of the applicant's Social Security number when they submit a resume for consideration.
She claims that ATT requires the full SSN.

Has anyone run across this?

It seems to me if they have my name and all this information they can find out A LOT about me without me authorizing it.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby mhc » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:45 pm

I wouldn't do it. I think with the info requested, they can guess your complete SSN.

Are you sure this is a real recruiter?
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby The Wizard » Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:52 pm

Maybe they are running a credit check, to eliminate deadbeats...
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby linuxuser » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:15 pm

mhc wrote:I wouldn't do it. I think with the info requested, they can guess your complete SSN.

Are you sure this is a real recruiter?


Yes, she emailed and her email had the recruiting firm name and all that jazz. Insight Global is the headhunter company.

I thought I had read somewhere that having the last 4 digits of the SSN is not as innocuous as it sounds.
http://www.indepthdefense.com/2007/05/what-are-last-4-digits-of-your-ssn.html


I didn't give her the information and declined to be submitted.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby bluelight » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:14 pm

I have heard of this before. AT&T, Verizon and a few banks/brokerage houses have been requiring SSNs - or at least a portion of them, in order to be submitted for a position. Here is a thread that discusses it: http://www.indeed.com/forum/cmp/AT%26T/ ... es/t155124

As Verizon was a spin-off from AT&T, they obviously picked up some of the parent companies bad practices.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby sscritic » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:33 pm

bluelight wrote:As Verizon was a spin-off from AT&T, they obviously picked up some of the parent companies bad practices.


GTE Corporation, formerly General Telephone & Electronics Corporation (1959-1982) was the largest independent telephone company in the United States during the days of the Bell System.

In 2000, Bell Atlantic acquired former independent phone company GTE, and adopted the name "Verizon", a portmanteau of veritas and horizon.

I don't see a spin off, unless you are saying that Bell Atlantic was a spin-off. GTE certainly wasn't. How much of the old pre-breakup AT&T is left in the culture of Verizon? Very little I would suspect. I would think it is more GTE from 2000 than pre-1984 AT&T.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby bluelight » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:57 pm

Perhaps spinoff was not the correct word...

It started in 1983 as Bell Atlantic (based in New York City)[5] with a footprint covering New Jersey to Virginia and emerged as part of the 1984 AT&T breakup into seven "Baby Bells." In 1997, Bell Atlantic merged with another Regional Bell Operating Company, NYNEX, based in New York City with a footprint spanning from New York to Maine. The combined company kept the Bell Atlantic name. In 2000, Bell Atlantic acquired former independent phone company GTE, and adopted the name "Verizon"


As both AT&T and Verizon are among the very few companies that request this info, I wouldn't be surprised that some of that culture came from AT&T.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby XtremeSki2001 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:16 am

bluelight wrote:I have heard of this before. AT&T, Verizon and a few banks/brokerage houses have been requiring SSNs - or at least a portion of them, in order to be submitted for a position.


+1

I'd be more comfortable submitting this info direct to AT&T and Verizon rather than a Headhunter, but I don't think the headhunter is being malicious.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby linuxuser » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:24 am

I am not blaming the recruiting firm at all.

Just thinking that there is an ulterior motive by these companies to gather information about you without you knowing it.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby Default User BR » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:50 am

linuxuser wrote:Just thinking that there is an ulterior motive by these companies to gather information about you without you knowing it.

The only motive is that they want to run credit checks before they even bother getting involved with you. It's a pre-screen.


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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby linuxuser » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:54 am

That's what I believe too.

What I meant was that Verizon and the headhunter present it as a way to create a unique ID for your employment application, but it really is to run a check on you.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby tc101 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:06 am

The Headhunters I met were some of the most dishonest people I ever knew. They were compulsive liars. They lied even when there was no reason to lie.
I'm sure there are exceptions. I'm sure there are good honest recruiters, but I never met any.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby WatchinU » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:09 am

I've run into this before where recruiters for contractors for large companies demand the full SSN claiming that their client insists this is necessary before presenting the candidate for an interview. If you ask the big company about their policies then you will find most times they do not require it up front. The recruiting company is set up to move fast and collecting this info before a candidate is presented streamlines the process. I'd ask who's requirement is it really? You can check with Verizon directly about it.

Another approach is to fudge the bday and SSN as an experiment to see what happens. If you get hired, they will need an I-9 form where your identify and SSN have to be verified. They won't rely on the last 4 SSN. There is risk in this approach and you may not want to attempt it.

any time folks what my SSN, I always ask 2 questions: 1) why do you need it? 2) what are you going to do with the info?
Most of the time they do not have good answers. It is a business practice that someone in the company decided is required and they state authoritatively that they must have it.

I've recently noticed that anytime someone asks for my drivers license that they attempt to scan or write down info they are not entitled to. Even doctors' offices are doing this claiming they are "secure" even though I see how lax they are. The whole purpose asking for an ID is to verify that I am who I say I am. I tried an experiment where I put duct tape over my DL covering up bday and DL #. My name, picture, and address are visible. I get strange comments but really they have no business copying other personal identifying info. This experiment would be a problem if I were to get pulled over by the police.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby texasdiver » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:34 am

There probably isn't any malicious intent to this sort of thing. So many people have identical names and or use multiple versions of different names that it is difficult to sort out who is who. Virtually every other modern country on earth has national ID numbers for every citizen. For example, my wife is from Chile and our 3 daughters are dual citizens. They all have national ID cards that are photo IDs with their national ID number on it. The national ID card replaces the school ID card for kids and all the other ID cards they might otherwise need. The same exact national ID number is also printed on their passports as their passport number and it is also printed on their drivers license as their driver's license number. And, the same number functions as their Chilean social security number. Instead of multiple numbers on different IDs you just get one single number for every government-related purpose. Makes much more sense.

Back in my previous professional live I was involved in administering a commercial fisheries licensing system in Alaska. Even with only several thousand participants it was a nightmare to sort out all the different individuals with identical or nearly identical names, especially the sons and fathers with identical names and addresses and only the Jr or Sr to distinguish. Anyone setting up any sort of modern database in this country to track individuals ends up needing some sort of distinguishing ID number to avoid mixing up individuals. The SS number has been the number used by default because everyone has one and they are unique and never change for the life of an individual. Drivers license numbers change when individuals move from state to state. And not everyone has them. Different states also have them in different formats which makes data entry complicated. There isn't any other good way to for certain distinguish between two individuals with identical names. So database designers end up being forced to default to the SS number.

I'm guessing that the database designers for this agency needed some way to distinguish between applicants with identical names but understanding that SS numbers are increasingly used in identity theft they instead chose to use the last 4 of the SS number combined with the birth date hoping that between the name and those two additional data points (which will not change for the life of the individual) they will be able to distinguish between all individuals with matching names.

I seriously doubt head hunters and placement agencies are running credit checks, although employers might in the final stages of the interview process. But at that point you most certainly will have provided your entire SS number on the job application along with every other necessary piece of identifying information.
Last edited by texasdiver on Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby texasdiver » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:37 am

WatchinU wrote:I've recently noticed that anytime someone asks for my drivers license that they attempt to scan or write down info they are not entitled to. Even doctors' offices are doing this claiming they are "secure" even though I see how lax they are. The whole purpose asking for an ID is to verify that I am who I say I am. I tried an experiment where I put duct tape over my DL covering up bday and DL #. My name, picture, and address are visible. I get strange comments but really they have no business copying other personal identifying info. This experiment would be a problem if I were to get pulled over by the police.


Probably not. Most states are now producing drivers licenses with magnetic data strips just like credit cards and most modern squad cars have magnetic readers. They can just swipe your license and pull all the data up including your photo on the computer in the squad car.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby downshiftme » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:56 am

I don't care that much whether someone is running a credit check as part of a job application, assuming it is the potential employer, not the headhunter running it. But I do care that any headhunters collecting this information are probably storing it somewhere with lax/no security. It would be reasonable to suspect that any info I give them could be easily divulged to unexpected third parties, or even the public, through accident or malicious intent. I see no reason to put myself in such a vulnerable position.

As for the argument that someone somewhere needs this data to distinguish me from all the downshiftme name-twins applying for the same job as I am, that just doesn't happen. Maybe John Smith occasionally encounters another John Smith, or once hired finds another namesake in the company directory, but for almost everyone else that is not likely to happen and certainly not common enough to impose such a risky data collecting practice. Use nicknames. Use initials. Call them Candidate X and Candidate Y until you sort it out. Once hired, then they can have all the data they need - to keep in their own secure HR systems, not some headhunter's laptop spreadsheet or email cache. Share such info with the hiring company, only. Not the headhunting middleman who could accidentally spread it to who knows who.

Generally speaking, birth date can easily be used to identify people of a protected class - older adults - and if any company asked that question in an interview they could easily find themselves on the receiving end of an age discrimination lawsuit. If this is an attempt to end run around current legal restrictions on company's limitations in hiring based on age by having the headhunter ask it, then it is clumsy and dangerous. If they are asking only month and day, they are probably trying to stay technically inside the law, while hoping that applicants will naturally disclose their complete birthdate - but technically they didn't ask.

Are their no other headhunters or potential hiring companies you can deal with? I'd avoid these people for many reasons.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby texasdiver » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:47 pm

downshiftme wrote:As for the argument that someone somewhere needs this data to distinguish me from all the downshiftme name-twins applying for the same job as I am, that just doesn't happen. Maybe John Smith occasionally encounters another John Smith, or once hired finds another namesake in the company directory, but for almost everyone else that is not likely to happen and certainly not common enough to impose such a risky data collecting practice. Use nicknames. Use initials. Call them Candidate X and Candidate Y until you sort it out. Once hired, then they can have all the data they need - to keep in their own secure HR systems, not some headhunter's laptop spreadsheet or email cache. Share such info with the hiring company, only. Not the headhunting middleman who could accidentally spread it to who knows who.

Generally speaking, birth date can easily be used to identify people of a protected class - older adults - and if any company asked that question in an interview they could easily find themselves on the receiving end of an age discrimination lawsuit. If this is an attempt to end run around current legal restrictions on company's limitations in hiring based on age by having the headhunter ask it, then it is clumsy and dangerous. If they are asking only month and day, they are probably trying to stay technically inside the law, while hoping that applicants will naturally disclose their complete birthdate - but technically they didn't ask.


1. It does indeed happen all the time that there are persons with identical names in data bases that can easily be confused. Remember with most data bases you are talking about multiple individuals in multiple locations accessing and editing the data. You update your data by sending in an additional piece of information and some clerk somewhere enters it into the data base. You want to make sure that your transcripts etc. get entered into your file and not someone else's and you also want to make sure that someone else's data gets entered into your file. How do you design a data base system so that a bored minimum wage data entry clerk doesn't accidentally enter your data into the wrong file while on facebook on her iPhone? Use some identifying number that is unique for every individual and never changes throughout their life. Using some other non-permanent data point such as address does not work and makes things worse. Is the John Smith at 100 Main Street in Chicago a different individual from the John Smith at 100 1st Street in San Francisco? People do move and if you use some non-permanent data point you end up with multiple entries for the same person and a real mess.

2. One doesn't need the DOB to figure out someone's approximate age. It is trivially easy to do so from their education and work background. Give me your college transcripts and I can figure out your age to within a couple of years for 99% of job applicants.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby downshiftme » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:39 pm

It does indeed happen all the time that there are persons with identical names in data bases that can easily be confused.


I don't doubt that there can be several people with identical names in large databases. That is obvious.

What I do say is that there is no need for employment candidates to be entered into such a database and especially there's no need for headhunters to be entering that information into such a database.

Any company that employs the bored minimum wage data entry clerks you describe as an integral part of their hiring process deserves the terrible dysfunctional results they will no doubt obtain.

Likewise, no one doubts that when a candidate arrives for an interview, if she's a little old gray haired lady everyone will know that she is old. But a candidate who has removed degree dates and older jobs from their resume (possibly because they have experienced age discrimination before) is not as easy to classify as you suggest from the resume itself. Employers in many states are prohibited from asking candidates age, which means they are prohibited from asking candidates birthdates. There are valid reasons for this, so skirting the law by allowing a headhunter to collect this data and screen candidates by age is not appropriate, no matter how poorly designed your database or hiring process is.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby downshiftme » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:44 pm

Give me your college transcripts and I can figure out your age to within a couple of years for 99% of job applicants.


Do you require college transcripts for all job applicants? I have never encountered a hiring situation where a college transcript was requested. Is this perhaps a regional issue? I have seen academic appointments that request college transcripts, or school admissions processes, but I have never heard of such a practice for private employment.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby Rich in Michigan » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:34 pm

I personally would not do it. In this economy, you may need the job so that part of the equation is one I'll leave to you.

There is no valid reason for either the recruiter or potential employer to have this information at this stage of the game. I only give someone any part of my SS# if they have a legal reason to know it; employer (not potential employer), financial institutions, etc.

If an offer is made, you'll have to fill out the requisite paperwork if you accept the job. That will be soon enough for them to have the full information as well as to run any necessary background checks before you start the job. Most jobs come with the caveat that you have to successfully pass the background check.

I never needed that information prior to conducting an interview and prior to my retirement I was an executive at a company that is much larger than the one you are talking about.

On the other hand, if you have been out of work for awhile and really need this job, then you will have to decide how far you want to go with standing on principle. At minimum though, you should push back on the request and demand to know exactly why it is being requested and what it is being used for. Don't accept any vague answers either.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby mrpotatoheadsays » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:12 pm

I'm a professional. When applying for jobs, I provide my full SSN and extensive information on my background. Its just part of the process today.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby linuxuser » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:03 pm

mrpotatoheadsays wrote:I'm a professional. When applying for jobs, I provide my full SSN and extensive information on my background. Its just part of the process today.


What does being a "professional" have to do with anything???

I don't want my personal information out there with people who really don't have a need for it. They want it, but they don't need it.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby texasdiver » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:30 pm

downshiftme wrote:
Give me your college transcripts and I can figure out your age to within a couple of years for 99% of job applicants.


Do you require college transcripts for all job applicants? I have never encountered a hiring situation where a college transcript was requested. Is this perhaps a regional issue? I have seen academic appointments that request college transcripts, or school admissions processes, but I have never heard of such a practice for private employment.


I had to provide mine when applying for teaching jobs. It's part of the licensing process and determining whether one is qualified to teach the subjects at hand. Actually, come to think of it the transcripts were something I provided to the HR office after I had been hired. Nevertheless, one doesn't really need the actual transcript. Just give me your educational history (when and where you earned your degrees) and I can probably guess your age. Is it illegal for employers to ask for your educational history? I think not.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby Kuota Rider » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:49 pm

It is standard procedure in many industries today to perform a background check (credit check, driving record, police record, etc.) But that is only done AFTER they make you a formal offer and normally done directly through the firms human resources department -- not the recruiter.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby getRichSlower » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:57 pm

linuxuser wrote:I don't want my personal information out there with people who really don't have a need for it. They want it, but they don't need it.


I think you're being paranoid. At a company I used to work for, they put our social security numbers on the front of our badges that we had to wear whenever in the office.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby downshiftme » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:27 pm

I had to provide mine when applying for teaching jobs. It's part of the licensing process and determining whether one is qualified to teach the subjects at hand.


Fine. Academia wants transcripts and birthdays and SSNs. At least they do where you apply. That still doesn't mean I would provide that information to headhunters. And it has absolutely nothing to do with whether that is an appropriate expectation of a hiring process for Telecom or Technology companies, which is what the OP was asking about. I'm sure the Post Office and Civil Service have their own different slant on the hiring process as well. They are equally irrelevant, despite their likelihood of having large databases.

A request for SSN from a headhunter before even applying for a job or presenting a candidate to a company is non-standard and unexpected in the technology business.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby interplanetjanet » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:45 am

mrpotatoheadsays wrote:I'm a professional. When applying for jobs, I provide my full SSN and extensive information on my background. Its just part of the process today.

I'm a professional - at least, the people I intend on working with should treat me as one if they want me there.

I've given my SSN and other information a number of times, once a job offer was extended, for security clearance or credit verification purposes. I have never been asked for it at the recruiting or early hiring stage of employment. I would want a plausible, definite purpose they would put the information to before doing so - just the same as if I'd been asked for a bank statement or tax return.

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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby linuxuser » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:23 am

getRichSlower wrote:
linuxuser wrote:I don't want my personal information out there with people who really don't have a need for it. They want it, but they don't need it.


I think you're being paranoid. At a company I used to work for, they put our social security numbers on the front of our badges that we had to wear whenever in the office.


Paranoid? In this day and age?

That the company you used to work for were idiots for doing what they did. Plain and simple.

My credit union used to use the social security number followed by the number 0 to create the account numbers.
Finally, last month they got rid of those numbers and issued generic account numbers.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby Novine » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:16 am

"I think you're being paranoid. At a company I used to work for, they put our social security numbers on the front of our badges that we had to wear whenever in the office."

Depending on where you live, this could be illegal. There are state laws that prohibit the use of SSNs on ID badges and on other forms of ID. Setting aside the legal aspects of that, it's incredibly stupid from a privacy and identity protection viewpoint. If you don't think there's any danger from this, you need to educate yourself on the perils of having your identity stolen.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby FireProof » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:45 am

I could probably find both of those things already on LexisNexis just knowing your name (if it's all uncommon) or knowing your name and address. So I'm not sure it's too sinister.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby Default User BR » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:53 am

For a time, Missouri decided to use SSN as your driver's license number. So if you lost your DL, you'd give away a photo ID of yourself and your SSN. Handy for identity thieves. The only way you could opt out is if you claimed it was for religious reasons. Apparently some denominations consider centralized ID numbers to be something like Mark of the Beast. It was dropped after a few years.


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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby manuvns » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:04 am

sometimes they do it to avoid multiple submission for same candidate from different recruiter .
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby ClevrChico » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:22 am

I avoid all recruiters because of all the games they play.

In my experience a background/credit check is only done after an offer is on the table. And that offer is contingent on passing the background check.

A buddy of mine did have his background check get mixed up with a convicted murderer. That delayed things for a while for him...
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby downshiftme » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:55 pm

sometimes they do it to avoid multiple submission for same candidate from different recruiter .


I don't see how that would work. Are you suggesting that headhunters cooperate with each other and exchange this name, birthday, SSN info to coordinate whether it's okay to submit a candidate that another recruiter already submitted. No way that's going to work. Or are you saying the hiring manager needs to get birthday and SSN info because they cannot rely on name and resume data to notice if they have the same applicant submitted twice. Again, I think that is incorrect.

In my experience, headhunters DO NOT require this info and it is not used for this (or any other legitimate) purpose in the job application situation described in the original post. I'm don't understand why you say they "sometimes" do this to avoid multiple submissions. They don't.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby getRichSlower » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:32 pm

linuxuser wrote:Paranoid? In this day and age?

That the company you used to work for were idiots for doing what they did. Plain and simple.

My credit union used to use the social security number followed by the number 0 to create the account numbers.
Finally, last month they got rid of those numbers and issued generic account numbers.


Just from working at that company, hundreds of people had the chance to see my SSN. SSNs were never designed to be passwords and any system that depends on them being secure is flawed.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby downshiftme » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:44 pm

By the way, here's a recent article suggesting that deliberate identity theft by con artists collecting info as part of supposed job applications is increasing.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/07/02/ ... e-con-art/

Better Business Bureau recently issued a warning about these increasingly prevalent scams.


Be wary if you're asked for personal information, such as your Social Security number or financial account numbers. Do not provide such information unless you've researched the job and the company, and are certain that it's safe to divulge your information.
Last edited by downshiftme on Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: recruiter asks for birth month and day and last 4 of SSN

Postby ChampagneOfBeers » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:14 pm

I worked at Verizon for almost a decade and never heard of this policy when hiring people from the outside. A background check was done after interview process, but no SSNs up front. This was Verizon/Chicago.
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