Living & Working in Great Places
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Companies have no business asking for social security numbers prematurely. They will need it if they are running background checks on you. And they will need it once you're hired. But it should be a red flag if they ask for it on an application form.
The Wall Street Journal went off on this on October 9 in an article titled, Data Privacy Is Key Concern In Online Job Applications, by Perri Capell. The take-away from that article?
If asked for a Social Security Number on an application form leave it blank or make one up.