Is it illegal for someone to give your social security number from work documents to others without your permission?

Asked almost 3 years ago - San Jose, CA

I have a former client, a CPA, who gave my social security number from a 1099 form to an attorney for her homeowners association. That attorney then gave my social security number to a client of his without my permission. The client used my social security number to run a background check and credit checks on me--again all without my permission. Is this legal.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Brian S Wayson

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . It seems likely, that under the fact scenario posted, that violations of various privacy and professional responsibility (ethics) codes have taken place. The state licensing board for CPA may have a problem with this action by the CPA. The State Bar Association may have a problem with this action by the attorney.

    A California law places restrictions on the display and transmission of SSNs by companies. For more information, read the California Office of Privacy Protection guide on SSN “recommended practices,” at

    For more on financial privacy in California, see the Office of Privacy Protection publication, Your Financial Privacy Rights. This publication also includes California agencies that enforce privacy rights. (available at:

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice,... more
  2. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . An excellent source for information on privacy rights in California and elsewhere is the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego, CA. This organization has excellent fact sheets on privacy, Social Security Numbers, background checks, and more. If you cannot find what you need on the web site, call them and see if someone can give you more direction.

    And I agree with the previous answer; it sounds likely the client who gave out your confidential information might be liable for the breach of privacy and any damages.

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more

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