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Companies & Personal Information

Old Sep 28th 2004, 6:10 am
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Default Companies & Personal Information

Is it just me, or do companies in the US ask for an awful lot of very personal information?

My wife applied for a job a while ago. During the hiring process she was required to undergo a blood test and a urine test, which she consented to. On another form, the company required her to give them "ownership" of her fingerprints, and to grant them access to her medical records. At this point she ended the interview.

I have become used to every Tom, Dick and Harry asking for my social security number. I don't have one, so the answer is as simple as that. But even if I did, I would be extremely careful with it. I am quite sure the creators of the SSN system did not envisage people cheerfully giving out the number over the phone to half-wits in call centres.

Even buying a pair of socks can involve an interview. I went into one store to do exactly that, and couldn't check out without a barrage of questions: telephone number, address, etc. At a recent check out experience (Best Buy), I was asked, as always, for my telephone number. I said "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours." She looked at me in disgust, which I half expected, but whilst perhaps a bit unusual I don't see why my response was at all absurd.

Anyway, enough rambling, I'm really wondering whether I am over-reacting or whether, as I fear, there really is no limit to what is off the table in the US in terms of private information.
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 8:09 am
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

What kind of job was she applying for? The Secret Service?
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 8:43 am
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Originally Posted by ScousePete
What kind of job was she applying for? The Secret Service?
A job in a bank (Wachovia).

Incidentally, Wachovia is both an equal opportunity and an affirmative action employer. I would clearly lack the powers of reason required to work there.

Last edited by CalgaryAMC; Sep 28th 2004 at 8:46 am.
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 12:15 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Originally Posted by CalgaryAMC
Is it just me, or do companies in the US ask for an awful lot of very personal information?

My wife applied for a job a while ago. During the hiring process she was required to undergo a blood test and a urine test, which she consented to. On another form, the company required her to give them "ownership" of her fingerprints, and to grant them access to her medical records. At this point she ended the interview.

I have become used to every Tom, Dick and Harry asking for my social security number. I don't have one, so the answer is as simple as that. But even if I did, I would be extremely careful with it. I am quite sure the creators of the SSN system did not envisage people cheerfully giving out the number over the phone to half-wits in call centres.

Even buying a pair of socks can involve an interview. I went into one store to do exactly that, and couldn't check out without a barrage of questions: telephone number, address, etc. At a recent check out experience (Best Buy), I was asked, as always, for my telephone number. I said "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours." She looked at me in disgust, which I half expected, but whilst perhaps a bit unusual I don't see why my response was at all absurd.

Anyway, enough rambling, I'm really wondering whether I am over-reacting or whether, as I fear, there really is no limit to what is off the table in the US in terms of private information.
The depth and breadth of information requested from would-be employees differs according to the job. Since your wife is applying for a job in a bank, possibly handling money and most likely privy to confidential and personal information herself, much of the application process is probably linked to a criminal record check.

The bank certainly wouldn't want to hire anyone with any kind of criminal background. If you were a customer of the bank, how would you feel about a former thief or identity theft stealer working in a bank?

Like you, I'm very wary of giving out my SSN. I always ask why it's required. I'm especially concerned if it's printed or written down since anyone catching a glance of the number may remember it and use it fraudulently. The British equivalent, the NI number is not used in the same way as the SSN is in the US. There is an option when getting one's US driver's licence to have the SSN printed on the card. It would be foolhardly to allow that on that document.

I know how you feel about being asked for your phone number when paying for merchandise and services at stores. I ask why it's needed. I usually get the answer, "it's so you can receive free coupons", etc. However, once the store gets your number and from that your name and address, you may get coupons in the mail but the company also will sell on your details for its benefit.

My opinion is, if in doubt, ask.
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 12:55 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

If I get asked for my phone number in a store, I always say that I would rather not give it. If I have to put down my SS number on anything other than a job application, I always ask if it is absolutley necessary to put it down. Usually it isn't. And if it is birth date and SS number. No way.
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Babies R Us always asks for my phone number. I haven't asked but I presume this is because if there is a safety recall on an item I've purchased, they can call me to tell me about it. At least I hope thats the case.
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Originally Posted by James Box
Babies R Us always asks for my phone number. I haven't asked but I presume this is because if there is a safety recall on an item I've purchased, they can call me to tell me about it. At least I hope thats the case.
I think it's very unlikely that the store will contact you personally about a safety recall. It's more likely that the manufacturer of the item will place an advert in your local paper or the local TV station running a piece about the recall.




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Old Sep 28th 2004, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Originally Posted by James Box
Babies R Us always asks for my phone number. I haven't asked but I presume this is because if there is a safety recall on an item I've purchased, they can call me to tell me about it. At least I hope thats the case.
It's so they can keep track of your spending habits in their store (marketing info).
If your phone number is not in the system they will ask for your name and address.
If you use a store card then they shouldn't need to ask for your info.

The SSN is a better way to keep track of people (it doesn't change), but most people would object to giving out the SSN just to buy something, whereas more people will give out a phone number even if they don't know what it is being used for.
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Originally Posted by CalgaryAMC
Is it just me, or do companies in the US ask for an awful lot of very personal information?

My wife applied for a job a while ago. During the hiring process she was required to undergo a blood test and a urine test, which she consented to. On another form, the company required her to give them "ownership" of her fingerprints, and to grant them access to her medical records. At this point she ended the interview.

I have become used to every Tom, Dick and Harry asking for my social security number. I don't have one, so the answer is as simple as that. But even if I did, I would be extremely careful with it. I am quite sure the creators of the SSN system did not envisage people cheerfully giving out the number over the phone to half-wits in call centres.

Even buying a pair of socks can involve an interview. I went into one store to do exactly that, and couldn't check out without a barrage of questions: telephone number, address, etc. At a recent check out experience (Best Buy), I was asked, as always, for my telephone number. I said "I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours." She looked at me in disgust, which I half expected, but whilst perhaps a bit unusual I don't see why my response was at all absurd.

Anyway, enough rambling, I'm really wondering whether I am over-reacting or whether, as I fear, there really is no limit to what is off the table in the US in terms of private information.
Urine test for drug screening.

Fingerprints for criminal record check.

Blood test / access to her medical records
(not sure about this - Did the job offer health insurance depending on current medical condition)
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Old Sep 28th 2004, 8:39 pm
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Default Re: Companies & Personal Information

Sometimes I feel like saying "Mind your own buisness"!! I will never give out more info than is absolutely necessary. This is because its not there buisness, I do not want any more junk mail, any spam (not the canned meat!!) and I fail to see why they should profit from selling my info on mailing lists to other people. Some will "crow" about freedom of info but what about the "freedom" of the person to choose to let people have it or not??
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