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Can Verizon Wireless require a Social Security Number (SSN)?

Discussion in 'Cell phones' started by dreammaker, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. dreammaker

    Jan 12, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Went to sign up for cell phone service for a trip to New Zealand. Was offered 2 options: pay/unit or
    something they call "Travel Pass" (pay/24hrs). Asked about a third option which I had used in Italy in 2015 in which I paid a monthly rate for 100 texts, 100 minutes etc. Was told this option was "unavailable" to me-that there was "a lock on my account".
    I have been a Verizon customer for 11 years. Am not and have never been delinquent on the account (and have an excellent credit rating). Am the primary account holder and during this conversation gave Verizon the correct account password and all identifying information they requested (except SSN).

    The reason for their refusal to provide this coverage option (so I was told) was because they "do not have a valid social security number on file for me". (I have refused to provide it in the past because I didn't think it was legal for them to ask and I am extremely reluctant to provide my SSN to anyone if not absolutely required).

    Why does Verizon need my SSN??!! If this is for "security reasons" then why are they even letting me remain a customer? Why are they providing me with two (more expensive) options for cell phone service in New Zealand, but not a third?
    And isn't there a law (not sure if state or federal) that says that companies cannot require a SSN as an identifier in a commerical transaction (which is essentially what this is--a temporary change in coverage on an existing account).
    Is this demand by Verizon Wireless even legal?
    My state's Attorney General's Office, Office of Consumer Affairs, and Department of Telecommunications and Cable were unable to explain why Verizon Wireless needed this information and were unwilling to answer the question of legality. I hope someone in this forum can.
    I would like to have the option of the monthly rate for a certain amount of coverage while in NZ. I would also like to know whether it is legit for Verizon Wireless to make the demand it is making.
  2. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

    Dec 26, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Sounds like you need legal advice, if the government can't tell you the answer. Requiring a social security number has become so widespread that I fail to see what your objection is. Since all your credit instruments have your SS#, what's your objection to giving it to Verizon? It seems odd that they want it, they're just being dopey ... but there are several other companies from which you can buy some service.
  3. Sanman33

    Jul 5, 2016
    Likes Received:
    • I use an unlocked GSM phone and when I travel overseas I always use a prepaid SIM card for whatever country I'm in. Easy and inexpensive way to ensure I have phone service without rediculous roaming or international charges. Use Messenger to keep contact back to US as long as WiFi is available .
    Patina likes this.
  4. ORresident

    Staff Member Advocate

    Nov 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Here's a sheet from the California Attorney General: https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/idtheft/cis_4_ss_Number_doj.pdf -- I think the relevant portion for your question is here, but I'm not a lawyer, and this isn't legal advice:
    "There is no law that prevents businesses from
    asking for your SSN. And you may be denied
    service if you don’t give the number. If giving
    your SSN to a business doesn’t seem reason-
    able to you, ask if you can show another form
    of identification. Or ask if the business can use
    another number as your customer number...."

    Giving me the choice between higher priced services and giving them my social security number would prompt me to look for Choice #3: a new provider.
    John Galbraith likes this.
  5. technomage1

    Staff Member Forum Director

    Jan 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Its generally so they can run a credit report on you. I can't speak to the legality of it, but all telecom companies do so as well as internet service providers. Why they'd need to run the credit of a long time customer is beyond me, though. And they absolutely should be telling you why they're requesting it.

    I'd suggest asking your question to the first executive in our company contacts.
    Carrie Livingston and Neil like this.
  6. Realitoes

    Aug 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    You are not required to give your social security number, but then again, Verizon is not required to provide you service (especially if it requires a credit check which is why they want your SSN).

    In most cases pre-paid services do not require a credit check or SSN. Have you checked to see if that would be available in the locations you are going.

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