Why Does the Closing Attorney Need My Social Security Number

Why Does the Closing Attorney Need My Social Security Number?

When it comes to the process of closing on a home, you might be asked to provide personal information, including your Social Security Number (SSN), to the closing attorney. This request might raise concerns and questions about why such sensitive information is necessary. In this article, we will explore the reasons why a closing attorney requires your SSN and address some frequently asked questions to alleviate any confusion or apprehension you may have.

1. Verification of Identity

The primary reason a closing attorney needs your SSN is to verify your identity. Your SSN is a unique identifier issued by the government, ensuring that you are who you claim to be. During the closing process, it is crucial for the attorney to confirm your identity to prevent any potential fraud or impersonation. By providing your SSN, you help the attorney verify your identity, ensuring a secure and legitimate transaction.

2. Title Search and Clearances

Another reason for providing your SSN to the closing attorney is to facilitate a title search. The attorney will conduct a thorough examination of the property’s title history to identify any outstanding liens, judgments, or other encumbrances. This process helps ensure that you are purchasing a property with a clear title, free from any legal disputes or financial burdens.

To conduct an accurate title search, the attorney may need to access various public records, including tax records, court documents, and bankruptcy filings. Providing your SSN allows the attorney to retrieve relevant information associated with your name, confirming that your personal records are clear and that you have no outstanding liens or judgments against you.

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3. Compliance with Federal and State Regulations

The closing attorney is responsible for ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations throughout the closing process. These regulations include anti-money laundering laws, Patriot Act requirements, and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. Collecting your SSN helps the attorney fulfill their legal obligations and confirms that you are not involved in any illegal activities.

Additionally, providing your SSN allows the attorney to comply with tax reporting requirements. For instance, the attorney may need to report the sale of the property to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and provide them with your SSN for tax purposes.


Q: Is it safe to provide my SSN to the closing attorney?
A: Yes, it is generally safe to provide your SSN to a reputable closing attorney. Ensure that you are working with a licensed and experienced attorney who follows proper data security protocols. They are legally bound to safeguard your personal information and maintain client confidentiality.

Q: What if I don’t feel comfortable providing my SSN?
A: If you have concerns about providing your SSN, discuss them with the closing attorney. They can explain why it is necessary and address any specific concerns you may have. However, keep in mind that refusing to provide your SSN may hinder the closing process and potentially delay the transaction.

Q: Can the closing attorney misuse my SSN?
A: While the possibility of misuse exists, it is highly unlikely when working with a reputable closing attorney. They have a professional and legal duty to protect your personal information. It is essential to research the attorney’s reputation and inquire about their data security measures to ensure your information is handled securely.

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Q: How long will the closing attorney retain my SSN?
A: The attorney will retain your SSN for as long as required by law or their professional obligations. Generally, they will keep your information on file for a reasonable period before securely disposing of it.

In conclusion, providing your SSN to the closing attorney is a necessary step to ensure the security and legality of the closing process. By verifying your identity, conducting a thorough title search, and complying with regulations, the attorney can protect your interests and facilitate a smooth transaction. Discuss any concerns you may have with the attorney to ensure your personal information is handled securely and with utmost confidentiality.