Contributed by Amie068
I admit to being somewhat naïve and trusting in a world that constantly proves that it is anything but trustworthy. In the last 7 months, I have had 3 occasions where more than one of my credit card numbers was obtained and large, fraudulent charges were made. This made me hyper-aware of the fact that anything I type online was available to anyone with the ability to hack into a system.
It seems like the skill level is not as high as one would think to break through a “secure” system. Considering that my recent barrage of problems happened in a short amount of time, it really grabbed my attention and forced me to rethink how complacently I dole out my information.
I am signed up with over 150 mystery shopping companies. I have given my Social Security Number to almost 100 of them. I have been paid by 68 companies, all of which have my SSN number. That means I have given, at a MINIMUM, 68 opportunities for someone to obtain my SSN that affects so many areas of my life including credit, loan rates, and, in the worse possible case, the ability to steal my identity. I would not suggest the latter concern if I did not know someone (my grandmother) who has been unraveling a huge mess for more time than I could imagine it would take.
An EIN is free to obtain and protects your identity. I often wonder what the fear is of obtaining a free method that allows a company to pay a person for work performed. If that individual reports any and all income, regardless if they made at least $600 to receive a 1099 tax form, then what is the big deal?
I almost wonder why there is even a debate. A method to be paid without using your personal SSN seems like a win-win to me.
Individuals may fly under the radar and do not feel the need to report the income if they made less than the required amount that companies must send a tax form for, but they certainly must know that companies get audited. In those audits, it is clear who was paid for rendered services. I would suspect that an audit would cross-check this information. Suppose one that did not report income because they “did not have to” was discovered. In this industry, which is already riddled with confusing tax issues, I would bet that a large can of worms was just opened.
Editors note: We are not tax professionals, so please understand that this is not professional advice.