Ask Wendy: Should I Send My Social Security Number?

wendywotr.gifBy Wendy Burt-Thomas

Q: Why do some places ask you to submit your Social Security Number with your submission? Is it safe to do this?

A: Magazines need your Social Security Number because if they pay you, they are required to report it to the government. My opinion is that you should NOT include your SSN with a submission, even if it’s requested in the writer’s guidelines. (Fraud experts believe that stolen SSNs are the leading cause of identity theft.) To get around the issue, simply write “Social Security Number provided upon request” to indicate that you read the writer’s guidelines but would prefer not to disclose the information until necessary. Upon acceptance, you should be sent a contract in which you provide all your information to receive payment. If possible, mail the contract back rather than scanning it and emailing it. I’ve never heard of an editor rejecting a piece simply because the writer did not include her Social Security Number.

The Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters by Wendy Burt-ThomasWendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and copywriter with more than 1,000 published pieces. Her work has appeared in such varied publications as MSNBC.com, NYTimes.com, Family Circle and American Fitness. She is the author of three books: Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One (McGraw-Hill, 2001); Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick (McGraw-Hill, 2003); and The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters (Writer’s Digest, 2008). Visit her at http://www.GuideToQueryLetters.com or her blog, http://askWendy.wordpress.com.

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