Can I keep my phone number with a fake SSN?
October 13, 2009 7:20 AM   Subscribe

Can I keep my phone number when switching carriers if the current one doesn't have my real SSN?

Through no devious act, my current cell phone carrier has a phony string of numbers instead of my real SSN number (a friend who worked there signed me up long ago. She didn't have my SSN so she just plugged in 111-11-1111. She never even asked for it, so no, I didn't intentionally mislead them). Recently I've come to detest their service and want to drop them. Question is, when I switch can I keep the same number? The way I understand the process, the new carrier has to get the same info as the old one, which is obviously impossible for me.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
Why not just call your current carrier, state that you believe they have the wrong SSN on file, and then update it on that end first? It's not impossible, you just need to either find out exactly what they have for your SSN and provide that (fake) number to the new provider -- although that might be difficult -- or correct it before you move.
posted by mikeh at 7:38 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Agreed, correct it before you move. I've got a number that I switched from Cingular to TracFone to Vonage and so on and the first step I took was to ensure that my info was correct and matched the records of the future company exactly.
posted by tilde at 7:40 AM on October 13, 2009

I don't give companies my ss#. They don't need it, there's no reason to give it to them. Look at your SS card. It explicitly states that it is NOT to be used for identification. Just use the string of 1's. You're not breaking any laws (that I'm aware of) by using a dummy number that is a standard boilerplate number for people who refuse to give their SS# to random corporations.
posted by Peecabu at 7:48 AM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry for double-dipping, but here's more info on not giving your SS:

Time Magazine on not giving it to telephone companies

Another article from the same author

According to the social security .gov site, you are not legally compelled to provide your Social Security number to private businesses unless you are involved in a transaction in which the Internal Revenue Service requires notification. (Financial institutions have their own rules via the PATRIOT act.)
posted by Peecabu at 7:58 AM on October 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

I don't think you need to give the new company your SSN to switch service. All they are looking for when you port over a number is that the billing and customer contact info and account number match so they can request the correct account/phone number to be transferred.
posted by eatcake at 8:50 AM on October 13, 2009

I had a prepaid phone with T-Mobile and ported the number to Verizon after a few years. Verizon had an issue porting the phone and it turned out that the social security number I gave them (real number) didn't match what T-Mobile had (1111-11-1111, like you.)

A rep from Verizon called me on the phone and then called a T-Mobile cust server number. After being on hold for a few minutes, we got a rep on the line who allowed me to confirm all of the other information on the account and then authorized the number for porting.

Process on the phone took about 10 minutes, if that.
posted by tommccabe at 8:53 AM on October 13, 2009

I make up SSNs all the time when they're used for ID verification like this.

My advice when dealing with the second would be "I think the agent just made one up for me, like 1111-11-1111 and the second (new company) CSR will see that and say "Yeah, yeah, fine."

It's just a human check. You can talk your way through it.
posted by rokusan at 9:55 AM on October 13, 2009

The porting agent at the new carrier can enter whatever information they like into the port request and it need not match what will be on the new account. I have ported numbers for family members onto my family plan where none of our information matched (though, obviously, I had the family member present to approve the port). Simply tell your new carrier the account information for the old carrier. Usually the old carrier wants name (this often must be an exact match for an automatic port to go through, but some carrier systems are more forgiving), old carrier account number, last 4 digits of SSN with old carrier and any PIN that might be on the account.
posted by fireoyster at 10:11 AM on October 13, 2009

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