Protecting Your Personal Information

Do Not Provide: Social Security Number (SSN), date of birth, copy of ID/passport, bank account numbers, credit card statements, or any other personal information that is requested by your potential employer. If this information is required for a job or gig, only provide it in person when you show up for work.

Your Rights:

  • Personal information can be provided at or after the gig; you do not need to provide it in advance. An advance deposit can also be made without tax information. Tax information can be added after a deposit has been issued.
  • You do not need to fill out a W-9 form if you will be paid less than $600 from the employer in any calendar year. You will still report the income on your taxes, but you do not need to fill out a W-9.
  • If you are paid $600 or more by an employer in any calendar year, you will fill out a W-9 for the employer, but you do not need to do so in advance. Wait until the first day of work, or until the work has been completed. Tax forms do not need to be filed until the end of the year.
  • You do not need to provide personal information on an application for employment until you have a written agreement or contract in place. A company cannot conduct a background check prior to making a job offer unless they have your consent. You should not consent until adequate interviewing and company research have been conducted.

Be Suspicious of a Potential Employer If:

  • You are asked for personal information (SSN, date of birth, a copy of ID/passport, bank account numbers, credit card statements, etc.).
  • Employer is hesitant to disclose additional contact information (phone number, etc.).
  • Additional contact information doesn’t work (phone, website, etc.).
  • Employer is always “out of town.”
  • Details or dates keep changing.
  • There is no information online about the company.
  • You are asked to do something deceptive (not file taxes, put a wrong date on a document, etc.).
  • You are asked to wire money.

Best Practices to Keep Your Information Secure:

  • It is best to provide personal information in person.
  • If transmitting personal information over the phone, always call the person/company yourself; don’t disclose information to someone who has called you and may be posing as an official agent.
  • If transmitting personal information online, make sure the site is secure. The URL should start with https://.
  • Do not transmit personal information over email (this is not secure).
  • When in doubt, ask someone you know and trust (Berklee Career Center, a Berklee personal counselor, etc.).

If You Have Been the Victim of Fraud or Identity Theft:

  • Put a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Contact any institution affected.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • File a police report.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
  • Credit monitoring services may be available for Berklee staff, faculty, or student victims. To file a claim, contact Travelers Insurance at 1-800-842-8496 (select option No. 2).

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