The local cable company often asks for my Social Security number before they'll proceed with a business transaction. I don't know if they already got it somehow and expect me to match it or if they're trying to get it. There is no reason on earth why the cable company needs my SSN.
When I refuse to give it, I'm told that they require it "for my protection". What I need is protection from unethical, money-grubbing, lying companies like them. The cable company is near the bottom of the list of businesses I trust.
All the cable companies I've called required a SSN to sign up. They all ran credit checks before they would let me sign on. Therefore, if I later called with an issue, I'd assume they asked for SSN for verification. If I was really opposed to providing my SSN at that time (which would seem pointless, as they already have access to it), I'd just simply say "What other information can you use to verify identity?", which I've had to do lots of times with other companies asking things I'd forgot lol.
ETA: If I distrusted a cable company so much, I wouldn't do business with them. Which I didn't, for two years, when I lived in an area only covered by dish networks I didn't trust. I went without cable and internet instead.
My cable/internet and cell phone companies asks for the last 4 digits to verify identity. I like that better. I'm assuming that in general the CS can only see the last 4 digits, which I think is a good idea.
No, the CS can generally see the whole number.
The UK data protection act (and I guess its equivalent in the US) prevent companies from supplying a whole bank AC number to a third party, even if they are the account holder (in case it's actually not the account holder and you've just given their bank details away) They can only supply four digits.
I used to work for a bank and part of my job when setting up new supplier bank accounts for payment was to confirm the bank account details with the supplier. Some bright spark in management's idea to catch any typos in the forms. IT was completely idiotic but they would not be dissuaded. I have never done a job I hated more
"hello, this is Another Sarah from Bank. We are setting you up as a supplier on the system and I need to confirm the bank details you'd like us to pay to"
"It's on the invoice"
"Yes, it's bank policy to confirm the details for a new supplier before we make the first payment. Are the last four digits XXXX?"
"Can you confirm the first four?"
"NO! THIS SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE A SCAM! THIEF!" *click*
You can't blame the suppliers for being suspicious - it did sound exactly like a scam. Problem was, if I couldn't confirm the bank details I wasn't allowed to set the supplier up, meaning they didn't get paid. Cue another round of irate phonecalls from the supplier. It was awful, stupid, made the bank look really bad, and as far as I know, they still do it today