Company says my SS# doesn't belong to me?

So today I ordered two new cellphones. Rather pricey phones… but, hey, I just got a bonus at work, so what the heck.

To get the phones, I had to sign up for new service with Sprint. To get the new service, I had to give this company (Wirefly, a presumably reputable company that a friend of mine used a few weeks ago) my social security number.

Well, I checked on the status of the order this afternoon, and found that it had been cancelled. Um… what? So I called up the company.

I was told that my social security number belongs to someone else, according to whatever system they use to look this sort of thing up. What… the… hell?

But if I send them a photocopy of my SS card, we can get this all cleared up.

So… what the heck’s going on? Did someone use my social security number to get some phones previous to this? Is there any way I can figure out what’s going on? The company’s not much help- everyone there seems to have a very thick, if polite, Indian accent.

Any ideas?

That smells fishy to me.

I second the fish smell.

But the companies don’t always get their research right. The other day I got a phone call from a company that wanted to refinance my home. The problem is, I don’t own a phone.

Seems there are a bunch of people who have not very nice things to say about this company. Maybe you should consider yourself lucky that they never processed your order.

No merchant or vendor should ever need your social security card. Were I you, my next phone call would be to the Social Security Administration (1-800-269-0271
Hours of operation: 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) with all the information you can find on the vendor.

It may not be fraud, but you’re probably safer checking with them. Since you have already sent them your SSN once, you might also want to be prepared to contact the FTC’s Identity Theft group.

I’m amazed they got through.

That makes no sense. Did you mean that you don’t own a home?

I thought he was making a joke. It made me laugh, anyway.

After reading the responses on that site and rereading your OP, I’d say the company is simply stalling and making up excuses for their fucked up system.

I would order a copy of my credit report, too.

You can get a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major services from here.

This may not be fishy, as it is standard practice with all of the major cell phone carriers to request a copy of your social security card if there is concern about your identity, especially concerning your social security number. I would definitely order a copy of your credit report, to see what else may be on there. It is possible that this is simply an error on their part, or it could be that someone else has used your social and they need to check your card to make sure the number you gave them actually is correct.

I would not assume that the cell company is trying to scam you, but I would be concerned about what may be on your credit report.

This is not exactly common, but sometimes happens, at the phone company where I work. Every singe new customer is subject to a credit check. We do not get an actual score, but a letter grade is assigned. A, B, or C, you’re ok, D is not so good. F usually indicates a bad debt account, and sometimes we get an R, for “research required”. Most of the time, this means the customer is about to hang up on me, because they’ve borrowed someone else’s social security number, or made one up, or used a child’s, or whatever. Sometimes, it’s just because they’ve never had any credit, and once in a while, it means the customer has well established and/ or perfect credit, but our system f*cked up. In all of these instances, we ask for a photo id and social security card. For those who check out, the account is then released. We don’t see a lot of outright identity theft, but this can be an indicator, and I would definitely pull a copy of my credit report if this had happened to me. Might be nothing at all, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to check.

They aren’t free everywhere yet: eastern states and all U.S. Territories start offering free reports on September 1, 2005 (a map is available on that site).

I was pretty sure it was illegal to require a SSN from anyone except for employment or other reasons involving potential income or SS/mericare taxes. Doent’s mean you can’t ask of course.

Free, except for the one piece of information I really wanted since everything else looked accurate enough – my credit score. I had to pay five bucks for that. The only good thing is that it wasn’t as bad as I thought, if not exactly good.

It’s illegal to require it (unless you’re the Government), but then it’s perfectly legal for a business to refuse to do business with you.

Exactly right. In order to do a credit check, the business must have your SSN (bad idea with roots long ago when identity theft was not a problem and SSN was pretty much a universal ID number). You are within your rights to refuse to give them your SSN, but they are also within their rights to decline to extend credit to you.

True enough. The purpose of the free report is to be able to check if all information on it is accurate, not to see what your score is.

His location implied he was in Oregon, which can already receive their reports, but thanks for the clarification.

I tried to send the company a fax of my SS card (with "copy"written in multiple places on it so the unscrupulous would have a hard time using it). They apparently never received it. sigh

So I found another company, one which seems to be getting higher ratings. They also asked for my SS card, but did so immediately, and without an Indian accent, and without any of this “your SS number doesn’t match your name” bidness, so I’m a bit more inclined to trust 'em.

Now… is there anyway I can find out WHY Wirefly insists that I’m not me? And is there anything I can do about it? I’ve already checked my credit report, and there’s nothing untoward on it.