I know there have been a lot of discussions on this, but I am not comfortable giving my SSN out during the application process - especially when I may never even do a shop for that company. Are there any companies that don't require SSN upfront? Or that will allow you to enter 999-99-9999 in the application and provide your real SSN later?
You shouldn't mystery shop, if you're not comfortable giving your ssn. You wont be paid without them verifying your information. If you're worried about identity theft, just put a freeze on your credit report or monitor it closely. You could always apply for a tax id, if you don't like the other suggestions.
I realize that the company will need my social security number to pay me, but I've already found at least one or two companies that allow you to REGISTER to shop with them without giving an SSN in the application. Again, I think there's a good chance I will never wind up doing a shop with many of these companies, and I don't want to give them my SSN upfront.
I have a coworker who is going through a nightmare with identity theft so I'm a little sensitive about distributing my SSN all over the internet.
You need to learn to trust the MSC companies. Once you get beyond the scammers who get personal information, know that your MSC protects your information and they cannot distribute shops to you unless you DO give them your SS#.
Don't focus on the "two" companies that don't want your SS#, focus on the 300 that DO want it....
I don't have any qualms giving out my number. I certainly don't keep track of which companies didn't ask for it. Did your coworker have problems because of mystery shopping? If that person knows how the identity theft occurred, I know you would avoid that sort of thing. Don't be afraid of identity theft. That's like parking your car and being afraid it will be stolen. It could certainly happen, but why worry? Just go about your regular business, taking normal precautions.