How much information is too much?
Thread poster: xxxRenascence
xxxRenascence
United States
Korean to English
+ ...
Feb 1, 2008

Hello colleagues, I always appreciate when colleagues respond to one's trouble at this web site. Today, I have question about revealing our personal information. How much information is too much to give out? We put our Name, Phone number, Email(Website) address, Physical Address, Resume, and Etc... What if registration documents from an agency requests below information. Would you give them out?


Date of birth
Gender
Bank Account Number/Routing Number
Social Security Number(USA), VAT Number(Is it a European ID number?)

Especially, my bank information, I'm not sure it's safe to give out. What do you think?


Thank you always,
Jimi


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Giving out info Feb 2, 2008

Jimi Law wrote:
much to give out? We put our Name, Phone number, Email(Website) address, Physical Address, Resume, and Etc... What if registration documents from an agency requests below information. Would you give them out?


Regarding bank information: you give out your account number and routing number every time you write a check (both are printed at the bottom of every check). So there's no unusual level of risk in revealing those.

I do not indicate date of birth or gender on my profile or resume, but I realize that in certain countries (such as Spain) these are expected on a CV and I will provide them if requested on an application form.

Since I work from home, I never give out my physical address. It's simply no one's business. If the IRS is happy sending everything to my PO box, my clients can do the same.

Like many Americans, I am hesitant to give out my Social Security number, partly out of fear of identity theft but mostly out of a cultural distaste for giving it out: I'm old enough to remember when it was illegal to use it for any purpose other than taxes and Social Security. I give it out to clients for whom I do enough work that they will need to issue a 1099 form.

VAT Number(Is it a European ID number?)


Instead of sales tax, European countries generally have a value-added tax (VAT). Whereas a sales tax is charged only to the end consumer, a VAT is charged at each step in a product's production and distribution: the manufacturer pays VAT when buying raw materials, the retailer pays VAT when buying from a distributor, and so on.

There is a lot of confusion about who has to provide a VAT number and who does not. But if you're in the U.S., all you need to know is that you don't have a VAT number and don't need one.

Regards.


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
inertia Feb 2, 2008

That's sometimes what drives these forms. But just because the information is requested doesn't mean you have an obligation to provide it.

It is perfectly all right to ask why this information is needed. You can get some indications from the responses about what the company is like.

Of the ones you specifically asked about, the SSN is what I'd inquire about If this company is outside the US, they should not need your SSN since they probably have no dealings with the IRS. (If they do, they'll tell you.) If they are in the US, they wouldn't need it unless it's likely that they'll pay you over $600 during the year. (You can ask whether they consider that likely.) And unless you have a requirement to file a VAT return in some other country (and the fact that you're asking about what a VAT number is suggests you probably don't), you wouldn't have a VAT number.

As concerns your bank account number, that's something they need if they're going to pay you by direct bank transfer. And as Mr. Capsuto pointed out, it's on every check you ever wrote. You can set up a bank account specifically for incoming bank transfers. That's something you should discuss with the bank.


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xxxRenascence
United States
Korean to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Having a PO Box Feb 3, 2008

Thank you, Steven and Paul, I learned something from your replies. Having a PO box sounds like a good solution for me. I have a question for Steven. What size of PO box do you recommend? My area post office offers;

Size 1 - (3 IN X 5.5 IN) $28.00 (6 Month Term) ; It seems very small, or would it be just OK?
Size 2 - (5 IN X 5.5 IN) $46.00 (6 Month Term)
Size 3 - (11 IN X 5.5 IN) $84.00 (6 Month Term)
Size 4 - (11 IN X 11 IN) $150.00(6 Month Term)


Thank you again in advance.
Jimi


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:58
English to German
+ ...
I agree with Steven and Paul in all respects Feb 3, 2008

I never give away my personal SSN or my date of birth. Regular clients in the US are sending their tax form once a year and they receive my EIN (Employer Identification Number) and that's it.

No client has ever asked me for my date of birth, BTW.

Whenever you (have to) send sensitive information, make sure you never send it in one single file.


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:58
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
How much mail did you expect to get? Feb 5, 2008

Jimi Law wrote:

Thank you, Steven and Paul, I learned something from your replies. Having a PO box sounds like a good solution for me. I have a question for Steven. What size of PO box do you recommend? My area post office offers;

Size 1 - (3 IN X 5.5 IN) $28.00 (6 Month Term) ; It seems very small, or would it be just OK?
Size 2 - (5 IN X 5.5 IN) $46.00 (6 Month Term)
Size 3 - (11 IN X 5.5 IN) $84.00 (6 Month Term)
Size 4 - (11 IN X 11 IN) $150.00(6 Month Term)


Thank you again in advance.
Jimi

Our clients and the people to whom we outsource occasionally send us a CD and occasionally send us an envelope, but most of our work is sent as files over the internet. Most of our invoices come the same way. If for some reason we get something that won't fit in our box, the Post Office puts a note in our box saying to come to the window and pick up the parcel that won't fit in the box. I think size 1 should work.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
How large the PO Box should be depends... Feb 6, 2008

...on how much mail you get and how often you plan to check the box.

I have the 11" x 5.5" one, and probably could do just fine with the next size down.

The largest thing I ever get is a book or DVD.

[Edited at 2008-02-06 06:10]


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