Fax Social Security number

I applied for a job and now they want me to send them my Social Security number. Is faxing the safest way to send it?

First of all, if you’re ever giving out sensitive information, make sure that you’re dealing with a trustworthy company, and that you know exactly how and why they’re using your information. That will contribute a lot to how safe you feel interacting with them through fax.

Theoretically, faxing through a fax machine is the same as reading the information over the phone: It’s point-to-point, and you don’t have a third-party middleman that might steal the information. However, the carbon ribbons on some thermal fax machines do keep copies of all information that passes through the machine. Also, if you’re sending it to a busy office, there’s a chance it will go to the wrong person.

If you can, phoning in the SSN is probably the securest option. After that, an encrypted email message is a good alternative. Keep in mind, though, that with an email it might be archived and accessed or found later by unwanted parties.

Do you have a question about faxing? Send me your fax question.