Ticketmaster is one of the largest ticket sales and distribution companies in the world. They sell tickets for concerts, sports events, theater shows, and more. When purchasing tickets on Ticketmaster, they sometimes ask for your Social Security Number (SSN) for identification purposes. This leaves many people wondering – is it safe to give your SSN to Ticketmaster?
There are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to provide your SSN to Ticketmaster or any other company. On the one hand, companies like Ticketmaster say they use your SSN only for identification purposes and to protect against fraud. On the other hand, giving out your SSN always carries some risk of identity theft and fraud if the information falls into the wrong hands.
In this article, we’ll look at the reasons Ticketmaster asks for your SSN, the risks involved with providing it, Ticketmaster’s security practices, and alternative options you have if you don’t feel comfortable giving out this sensitive information. Let’s weigh the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision about whether providing your SSN to Ticketmaster is worth the convenience and fraud prevention benefits.
Why Does Ticketmaster Ask for Your SSN?
According to Ticketmaster, there are a few reasons why they ask customers for their 9-digit SSN when purchasing tickets:
– Identity verification – By collecting your SSN, Ticketmaster says they can more accurately verify your identity and prevent fraud. They claim this provides an extra layer of security.
– Linking ticket transfers – Ticketmaster may ask for your SSN if you are transferring tickets bought by someone else into your name. This allows them to link your identity to the tickets.
– Credit checks – For high-demand events where Ticketmaster is concerned about fraud and unpaid tickets, they may run a soft credit check using your SSN to assess your creditworthiness if you’re purchasing tickets.
– Collecting debt – If you fail to pay for tickets, Ticketmaster may use your SSN along with other information to seek repayment.
So in essence, Ticketmaster maintains they use your SSN for identity verification, linking ticket transfers, credit checks, and debt collection. They say this improves security and reduces unpaid orders and fraud.
Risks of Providing Your SSN
While Ticketmaster claims they need your SSN for legitimate purposes, there are always risks any time you provide your SSN to a company. Some of the potential dangers include:
Identity thieves can use your SSN and other personal information to open fraudulent credit cards and bank accounts, take out loans in your name, file fraudulent tax returns to collect refunds, and commit other forms of identity theft. The impacts of identity theft can be severe and long lasting.
Medical Identity Theft
With your SSN, thieves can obtain medical services in your name which can lead to inaccuracies in your medical records that impact your health care. This is known as medical identity theft.
Beyond just identity theft, providing your SSN gives scammers an opportunity to commit various forms of financial fraud using your personal details. This may include obtaining credit cards or loans then defaulting, leaving you accountable.
Any time you provide your SSN to a company, you’re also trusting that they will store your information securely. If Ticketmaster were to experience a security breach where SSNs were compromised, this sensitive data could end up for sale on the dark web.
Annoying Marketing Offers
While not necessarily dangerous, providing your SSN could subject you to an increase in telemarketing calls, spam, junk mail, and targeted ads since marketers value SSNs. This can be annoying and inconvenient.
So clearly there are meaningful risks ranging from identity theft to security breaches anytime you hand over your SSN. You must determine if the convenience and service benefits outweigh the risks.
Ticketmaster Security Practices
Given the risks, it’s understandable to be hesitant about providing your SSN if you don’t know how a company will handle it. So how does Ticketmaster specifically protect your sensitive personal information?
Here are some of the ways Ticketmaster says they secure your SSN and other data:
– Encryption – Information collected at ticket checkout is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS) cryptographic protocols.
– Limited employee access – Only employees who “need to know” have access to full credit card and SSN details.
– Partner security reviews – Third party security experts test and review Ticketmaster systems.
– Card industry compliance – Ticketmaster states they comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
– Physical security – Offices and data centers have security barriers, surveillance, guards, and entry requirements.
– Firewall protections – Firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention, and anti-virus software help protect systems.
– Access controls – Authentication and authorization controls limit and monitor access.
So Ticketmaster does appear to take data security seriously, utilizing common practices like encryption, physical security, firewalls, employee access controls, and compliance audits by third party security validators.
However, it’s impossible for any company to be completely bulletproof against data breaches. There is always some inherent risk when providing personal data. You have to evaluate whether Ticketmaster’s protections suffice to mitigate the risks enough for your comfort level.
Alternatives to Providing Your SSN to Ticketmaster
Given the data security risks, you may not want to hand over your SSN to Ticketmaster or you may want to limit how often you do so. Here are some alternatives to consider:
Use a Credit or Debit Card
For most routine ticket purchases, providing a credit or debit card should suffice versus your SSN. The card provides Ticketmaster the ability to charge you for the tickets while limiting your exposure. Make sure to use a credit card so you have more fraud protections.
Provide an Alternative ID
Ticketmaster may accept alternative IDs like a driver’s license or passport instead of your SSN to verify your identity. This still proves who you are without exposing your SSN.
Use Gift Cards
Purchasing a Ticketmaster gift card and using that to buy tickets allows you to avoid providing any sensitive personal information. The downside is you have to purchase gift cards ahead of time.
Use a Ticket Reseller
There are many ticket resale marketplaces like StubHub where individual sellers list tickets for sale. Purchasing tickets from a reseller may allow you to bypass providing your SSN directly to Ticketmaster.
Avoid High-Risk Events
Ticketmaster appears to only ask for SSNs selectively for high-demand events where fraud is a larger concern. Avoiding these very popular events reduces instances where they might request your SSN.
So in summary, you have options like using third-party ticket resellers, gift cards, alternate IDs, and choosing lower risk events that may allow you to avoid sharing your SSN with Ticketmaster directly if you are uncomfortable doing so.
The Risks and Rewards of Providing Your SSN to Ticketmaster
To summarize the key points, here are the main pros and cons to weigh when deciding if you should provide your SSN to Ticketmaster:
– Convenient ticket purchasing experience
– Extra identity verification reduces fraud for you
– Allows easy ticket transfers and links to your account
– Needed for credit checks on high-demand tickets
– Identity theft if SSN is misused or exposed
– Financial fraud such as accounts opened in your name
– Medical identity theft
– Security breaches of the SSN database
– Marketing spam and telemarketing calls
You must evaluate these benefits and risks and make the decision on providing your SSN that fits your personal risk tolerance. It is not inherently unsafe to provide your SSN to trusted, reputable companies like Ticketmaster. But there is always some risk involved especially if their systems were to be compromised.
Many consumers decide the convenience and fraud prevention benefits make it worthwhile. But others find the risks too concerning. Look at Ticketmaster’s security practices and decide if you believe they offer reasonable protections. If you are still uncertain, consider using gift cards, alternate IDs, or ticket resellers instead to avoid providing your SSN when possible.
Whether or not to provide your SSN to Ticketmaster is a personal decision that involves weighing identity theft risks against the convenience benefits. Ticketmaster uses your SSN to verify your identity and prevent fraud when purchasing tickets. However, there are always risks anytime you provide your SSN to a company since it can potentially be compromised, stolen, or misused if security measures fail. You have to balance Ticketmaster’s security protections against these inherent risks.
If comfortable with Ticketmaster’s security protocols and the risk-reward trade-off, then providing your SSN is reasonable for the fraud prevention benefits. But if you have major concerns, you may prefer limiting how often you share your SSN and instead using gift cards, alternate IDs, or third party ticket brokers when possible as safer options. Carefully considering these pros, cons and alternatives will allow you to make the most informed decision on whether sharing your SSN with Ticketmaster is worth the convenience and security aspects for your personal risk tolerance.