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Zoethe

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Heads up [Sep. 20th, 2010|08:37 am]
Zoethe
Today's PSA: when a medical office or other nongovernmental business asks you for your Social Security Number, you cannot be required to give it out. Protect yourself from identity theft!
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: aiela
2010-09-20 12:39 pm (UTC)
This is very good advice. I especially hate when doctor's offices want B's - she's a minor, you are definitely not getting her SSN! I've only had one office ever say anthing about me leaving it blank, and they back down after a couple minutes.
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[User Picture]From: horizonchaser
2010-09-20 01:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I thought that was very odd, when I went to get my flu shot. They wanted my Social Security number. ...Why? O.o; Dunno. Left it blank!
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[User Picture]From: anivair
2010-09-20 01:49 pm (UTC)
True, you cna't be required to give it out. However, bear in mind that just because they're asking for it doesn't mean they're crooks. Almost every day here at work people call us up and say something akin to "I want you to take me off your call list". We politely inform them that we're not telemarketers, and that probably they have an account in our system, which is why they're getting called.

And usually, we'd be happy to take their number out of that's what they want (their loss) and so we say "Okay, if you give me the number we called, I'll look it up and pull it out." And of course, they say, "Well, i'm not telling you that!"

Okay, fine. then we go through a list of things they can give us. Name, address, social, phone number .... any of these things are ways we can pull an account up. And of course, they're paranoid, so they refuse.

And of course, then we can't look the account up, so we have no option but to keep calling them, not knowing who they are.

Sometimes, you just have to give a little information out.

But honestly, if you need to, a name or an address is better. Not much harm can be done with that stuff (as opposed to your social).
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-20 02:33 pm (UTC)
I don't think they are crooks. Most people asking are not. It's the crooks stealing that information that's the problem. The fewer places your SSN is recorded, the better.
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[User Picture]From: casu_consulto
2010-09-21 08:46 am (UTC)
I work for a subscription based organisation. It's not complicated to cease your membership, but it requires advice in writing - a fax, a letter, or an email. A couple of years ago we had someone who would, every quarter, shred their invoice and return it to us in the supplied reply-paid envelope. This is the perfect way to keep getting reminders!
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[User Picture]From: cubes
2010-09-20 02:48 pm (UTC)
You cannot be required to, but they also cannot be required to do business with you, so in effect if you want to see a particular doc and they use SSN for something bogus you're scr00d (though most will back down and then the office staff will glare at you every time you enter the building).

But yeah, I generally refuse to give out my SSN, and I also make a point of stating my reason loudly on my way out when they have someone else's chart lying wide open on the counter in front of me as I'm writing out my check...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-20 05:16 pm (UTC)
Well, everyone can refuse service. But generally they don't. And since SSNs are not supposed to be use for general ID, you really do have a leg on which to stand.
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[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2010-09-22 01:45 am (UTC)
Exception in our area is using MyChart for CCF. If you want to use MyChart, you have to provide your ssn. If you decide not to, then MyChart isn't an option.

Needless to say, we have no control over this from our office.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-22 01:57 am (UTC)
That is a convenience service. But I bet if someone made a big enough stink about it, they'd change their policy.
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[User Picture]From: moominmuppet
2010-09-22 02:02 am (UTC)
That's exactly the explanation when people do make a big stink about it (and it's been five years of pretty big stinks about it, and I'm still waiting)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-22 12:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, stomping their feet and yelling at CCF can be readily ignored. Siccing the SSA on them might cause some action.
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[User Picture]From: jenk
2010-09-20 05:18 pm (UTC)
...unless it's a business that is paying you, or otherwise needs to report income to the IRS on your behalf.

(I've known people who refused to do open brokerage and investment accounts because "They wanted my SSN!" Um...YES, they have to report your INCOME to the GOVERNMENT. *headdesk*)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-20 05:30 pm (UTC)
True.
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[User Picture]From: kagomeshuko
2010-09-20 09:34 pm (UTC)
Yep, being I freelance through sites that pay taxes, they need my SSN.
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[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2010-09-20 09:16 pm (UTC)
I try to limit how much of a fit I kick up in a medical office. Because I always have some bone to pick, and if I don't go to that practitioner readily (which I don't with anyone at student health) I try to keep it down to a dull roar. They don't ask for my SSN though. I really hate when places ask for it when they don't need it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-20 11:28 pm (UTC)
I just leave it blank and they generally don't ask because they know they don't have the right to. I would think they'd rather not have copies to limit their liability!
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2010-09-20 09:40 pm (UTC)
SSN is used as a second identifier for insurance billing purposes. Don't be surprised if there's more back'n'forth about bills for the procedure than there really has to be. No, you don't *have* to give it out -- but that's what they use it for. Feel better soon!!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-09-20 11:30 pm (UTC)
They aren't supposed to, though. The law actually says that they are not to be used that way, though it's a custom more honored in the breach.

We've never had any problems with the insurance.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-09-21 12:03 am (UTC)
One of my pet peeves. I actually had one office lady tell me that they must have it because couldn't bill my insurance without it. After I told her I didn't have any applicable insurance (dental) and was paying cash on the barrel-head.

BTW, as I discovered recently, if you get in a car accident the at-fault party's insurance is going to push you for it, ostensibly because they're obligated to determine whether you have Medicare (and therefore must reimburse it). I don't think the law requires you to give it, though they're probably required to ask.

-Alex
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