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Dare I Send Confidential Info? Ask Anne The Pro Writer

Hi Anne,

I have been accepted by Demand Studios as a writer; they require registration, including a Social Security number.  I am not comfortable with sending this confidential information via the Internet, so I emailed them to ask about alternate ways to give it to them, but they have not responded.

Do you have any suggestions for how to handle this?

Thanks so much!

Carol

Hi Carol,

Congratulations! I’ve hear some good things about them.

I gather they want you to fill out a form on their website with your SS#. They can’t pay you unless you do gove them that information; if they don’t get it they risk trouble with this country’s IRS. My hunch is their site, or at least that page, is secure. You can often tell that it is by the padlock icon on the lower edge of the page, and/or the use of https rather than just http in the address line.

You’re wise to be cautious, but it’s my opinion you’re being over-cautious in this case. I will give that information to websites that show some sort of security and whose name I know. I also feel like there’s no way to protect that sort of information completely anyway.

I suppose you could try to reach them by phone, but then you’ll be giving the number to some unknown person who will write it down in order to get it to the right department and you’ve got no guarantees the number won’t be passed around or sold as a result. Even if you email the number broken up in two or three emails, there’s no guarantee about what will happen at the other end.

[askanne]


Write well and often,


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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Once upon a time, getting an EIN was considered a kind of buffer–a number associated more with your business than yourself–so you could give it to clients with some assurance that your personal identity was protected. It seemed to make a certain amount of sense–I think there are limits to how EINs can be used. I don’t think they can be used to set up personal credit lines or credit cards, for instance.

    However, your question got me thinking, so I did some checking around. Apparently, some “business identity” theft is taking place using stolen EINs–illegal aliens and other people are absconding with EINs to set up bogus businesses. This I did not know.

    I still feel more comfortable using an EIN than my SSN, if only because you need to provide an SSN to engage in personal financial transactions. At least, I think so. If not, then in the words of Emily Litella–“never mind.” 🙂

    Debbi’s last blog post..Quotation for the Week of December 14

  • I’ve applied @ Demand and yet to receive a response – and this is after 3 months and a couple of chaser emails. If they aren’t interested, then just say so!

  • admin

    Debbi, why would an ein be safer?

  • One solution to the whole SSN problem is to obtain an EIN — employer identification number — from the IRS. You can find the form online. And you don’t have to employ anyone other than yourself to get one.

    Debbi’s last blog post..Quotation for the Week of December 14

  • admin

    Brick, you’ll probably find something and I’m glad you’re watching your credit.

  • admin

    Hey Carol, you’re more than welcome… and when readers ask questions I don’t have to dream up new content 😉

  • I’ve applied and been approved to write for Demand Studios, but there’s nothing I qualify for on what I was approved. So far, nothing untoward has shown up on my credit from them.

  • Carol

    Thank you all for your helpful responses. And thanks, Anne, for posting this!

  • admin

    Good to hear the positive reports, thanks Tamsen, Annie and Veronica.

  • I also have written for Demand Studio and submitted my S/S with no problem. The were a delight to work for in the past and it will give you an opportunity to write as much as possible and the money builds up fast. Maybe too fast when I receive the 1099 for 2008. 🙂

  • Specifically regarding Demand Studios, I know they are a secure site. I do writing for them and I submitted my tax info via their online forms and have had no problems. Payment is timely.
    In general, if a site is well-known and secure, I don’t worry about providing my tax information. If a site is questionable, unknown, or spammy-looking, then I don’t.

    Annie’s last blog post..Freelance Writing Report: A $500 Week

  • I write for Demand Studios and I have never had a problem. I gave them my SSN initially with the tax info and it hasn’t been misused.

    Tamsen’s last blog post..The Taste of Desperation

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