"We need your client's Social Security number to process the claim." This is a standard request from an adjuster when we notify the responsible party's auto insurance company that we will be handling the claim on behalf of our client.
Our standard response is to refuse for two reasons. First, divulging our auto accident client's SS No allows the at fault party's insurance company access to a number of databases that allow them to snoop around to see if the client had an injury or homeowners' claim 13 years ago, or had a workers compensation claim, for example. It even allows access to our client's credit history and credit scores. What's more, they don't share the results of their fishing expedition, which is a good reason to refuse to give them such personal information.
Second, I have always taken the position that divulging the client's SS No created privacy and information/identity theft concerns due to computer hacking and other cyber crimes. The usual responses to this are either an incredulous "gimme a break," "you're just being difficult," or "our computer systems are safe."
And now this news: Nationwide just got hacked by some computer "propeller heads" and exposed over 1 million people to access to personal information and Social Security numbers. Who knows the implications of this major security breach, but it proves our point that identity theft is a real concern, and not one that should be dismissed.
Insurance companies may EVENTUALLY need an Ohio auto accident victim's SS No in order to comply with new Medicare regulations requiring insurers or us to verify that the client is or was not on Medicare or eligible for Medicare at the time of the crash (this is because Medicare has a right or reimbursement for any auto accident bills Medicare pays). But this problem is easily solved by producing our clients' SS No's AFTER the case or claim settles.