Why Do Cable Providers Need Your SSN?

By Ruchika Sachdeva

Several businesses ask consumers for their SSN, or Social Security number, for various reasons. Cable providers are among them.

What Is the SSN?

The SSN is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is a reliable authenticator of a person's identity because it rarely changes throughout a person's lifetime. It is an easy route to identity theft. According to the SSA, identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States.

What Cable Companies Do With SSNs

Cable companies use the SSN to check a customer's credit history and to identify him correctly.

Authorization by Law

A cable company usually is not authorized by law to ask for your SSN and you can refuse to share it if you want, according to Social Security Online.

Consequences of Not Sharing SSN

Some cable companies may refuse services to you if you don't share your SSN, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse notes.

Alternative

According to the SSA, cable companies can use an alternate number that serves the purpose of identification and authentication while also protecting your privacy.