Comcast set up requires social security number?
February 15, 2017 7:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to set up internet service, through Comcast and they require that they obtain my social security number in order to run a report on my credit history for paying bills. I told the service representative I was reluctant to do this. Apparently the alternative is a 100 dollar deposit. Upon googling on this topic on the internet, many people throughout the years have had this same issue - but I can't find an actual up to date as of 2016 or 2017 solution to this. People have also written complaining Comcast haven't returned their deposit either. Should I give Comcast my social security number? Any alternatives?
posted by proficiency101 to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No. Escalate the issue. Almost everything with a cable company is negotiable if you escalate enough.

In my opinion, a $100 deposit is worth it, especially if they can't give you a good reason why they need it and reasonable assurance in writing as to how they will protect it and what they will do if it is exposed.
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:35 PM on February 15, 2017

Because they are doing a credit check, it is legal for them to request your SSN. If you don't want them to run a credit check, they ask for a deposit. I doubt you'll be able to get them to waive that.
posted by zsazsa at 7:42 PM on February 15, 2017 [23 favorites]

It is completely legal for them to ask for your SSN and do a utilities credit check. Just like when you get a cellphone or set up gas or electric service. Generally the deposit is returned after 1 year of on time payments as a credit on the bill, not a mailed check. Basically your choices are 1) pass a credit check with Comcast, 2) pay the deposit to Comcast, or 3) go through this same situation with another provider. You might be able to escalate to have a supervisor override this but if they do, it will be to get you off of the phone, not because it is the "right" thing to do.

Source: Former Comcast (and other telco) employee.
posted by sacrifix at 8:02 PM on February 15, 2017 [10 favorites]

Last week I refused to provide my SS# to Verizon. I escalated to a supervisor, and offered to provide my last three addresses (which covered about 40 years.)

This worked for me, something similar might work for you, especially if you put on your "taking no cr@p" voice.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 8:47 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Fun fact: there was a period of time when my SSN with Comcast was (if I remember correctly) 111111111. This didn't seem to cause any problems at any point of the process, though it was about 9-10 years ago so they might actually care now.
posted by phunniemee at 5:01 AM on February 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

They can absolutely do a background check and credit report without your social security number. The SSN is merely useful in making absolutely sure that they have the correct proficiency101 and don't confuse you with some other person named proficiency101 and having other similar identifiers.
posted by slkinsey at 5:23 AM on February 16, 2017

I have a non-Comcast cable company. Mine allowed me to actually go into the office with two forms of ID to fill out a form instead of giving them my SSN.
posted by jessamyn at 7:43 AM on February 16, 2017

Friend of mine got their deposit back in a timely fashion last year. As long as you're not moving out of the country, as Comcast apparently refuses to send checks out of the U.S. Ironic, since one of the reasons why you might not be able to give an SSN is because you don't live in the U.S.
posted by wnissen at 8:55 AM on February 16, 2017

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