How safe is my personal information? Can this credit card company come after me?
March 7, 2006 5:46 AM   Subscribe

[Paranoid credit card filter] How safe is my personal information? Can this credit card company come after me?

Recently at my college, a local papa johns had an offer for free pizza. Upon arriving we were required to sign up for a credit card offer to get free pizza (the lady at the desk specifically said we would be mailed an offer and had to confirm otherwise the credit account would not be activated). When filling out this credit card information, since i'm paranoid as hell, i entered in fake social security information but a real address (incase they actually send a card i dont want a random person to have it). I have two questions, if this is somehow a fraud, is it possible for these people to somehow screw me over with an incorrect SS number? Second, is using a fake Social security number illegal? Can the credit card company come after me for entering fake information?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (2 answers total)
In general, giving fake information *for the purpose of financial gain* is illegal. This is called fraud. Giving fake information without any intent to make a financial gain is not illegal. This is called politics. Or talk radio.

One could argue that gaining free pizza is financial gain. However, my guess is that credit card companies who do these promotions get a lot of crap information from them, and don't really care, they accept it as a cost of getting signups, just like the free pizza itself. Possibly if the name, address and SSN given on the application don't match pre-existing credit records, they won't send out any card at all.

If they do send one out, don't attempt to use the credit card and run out on the bill.
posted by jellicle at 6:03 AM on March 7, 2006

Relax. I doubt that you're ever going to hear from these folks again.

The reason they want your social security number when you sign up for a credit card, cellphone, rent an apartment etc. is so that they can run a credit check. Your "incomplete" application was just chucked in a trashcan. It's not worth the company's time and effort to pursue this any further.

Personally, I'm not into signing up for credit cards at malls, pizza shops and such. People can be very careless and just leave your personal info around for all to see. Never mind situations like Blockbuster chucking old applications out on the curb for trash pickup or the Boston Globe sticking people personal info on papers attached to bundles of papers etc. I'm not shy about telling folks to be careful where they leave my personal info.

In general, be careful signing up for credit cards. You can wind up in hock up to your eyeballs at exorbitant interest rates. Not all credit cards are created equal. And ALWAYS carefully read ANYTHING that you sign. If it takes some time to read it, they'll just have to wait.

And as far as constantly getting credit card offers in the mail goes, two words of advice -- paper shredder.
posted by bim at 6:24 AM on March 7, 2006

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