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Would you give out personal financial info as a non profit officer.
Old 05-29-2011, 05:23 PM   #1
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Would you give out personal financial info as a non profit officer.

I was elected as an officer in my communities non profit fire rescue org. Now the financial company we have wants SS#, date of birth, and a bunch of info that I hold close to me. The reason for this intrusion of my personal facts, is to give me access to funds held there. I can't see a reason that I would be involved with the finances, except to maybe have a second signature on a written check. I don't trust this financial company to keep my info secure and as a non profit corporation wonder if I need to give my info out.

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:46 PM   #2
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If you an officer of the company and have access to the company funds, you will have to provide all that info. How else can they check to see if you are a convicted felon?
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:21 PM   #3
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If I wanted to be an officer in the organization bad enough, yes. But I don't like giving up this kind of data either so I would probably decline the position.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:43 PM   #4
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I'm troubled by these days and times.
Two years ago when I bought a fishing license here (in PA) I had to give my SS#. No number, no fish. Other states don't even require a license. It is ridiculous!

I am not surprised that they want to check up on you for a community public office. Not happy but not surprised.
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:35 PM   #5
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Businesses asking for such personal information is a pet peeve of mine. Many people seem to easily give out their personal identifying information without a second thought, so my kudos to you. The biggest problem is you have absolutely no idea how these companies secure personal information. It's usually in a file cabinet with a wussy lock or on an unprotected computer.

NO ONE gets my social security number unless there is a tax situation. It's not even on my health card and none of my doctors have it. I hope the government stops putting social security numbers on Medicare cards by the time I'm eligible.

We've gone so far as to put security freezes on our records at all three credit bureaus.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by grasshopper View Post
I was elected as an officer in my communities non profit fire rescue org. Now the financial company we have wants SS#, date of birth, and a bunch of info that I hold close to me. The reason for this intrusion of my personal facts, is to give me access to funds held there. I can't see a reason that I would be involved with the finances, except to maybe have a second signature on a written check. I don't trust this financial company to keep my info secure and as a non profit corporation wonder if I need to give my info out.

Any thoughts?
Clarify what you mean by "the financial company we have". Do you mean the bank where the non profit has its account?

Also, you indicate you can't see a reason to be involved with the finances. So why not serve as a volunteer and decline being a signer on the bank account?

No need to get involved to this extent if you're uncomfortable, particularly for a volunteer position.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:17 PM   #7
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Seems intrusive, but pretty standard stuff.

Some organizations and auditors for non profits require bonds.

Surety bonds for general carefulness, officers, other members.

Fidelity bond for board treasurer, requires mucho carefulness, sometimes check signers.
Bonds require more info, if you are gunshy, steer clear of treasurer position on bd.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:44 PM   #8
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Perhaps a third party trusted party such as a law firm could be hired to do the back round check. You would give the law firm the info and they would only provide the results of the check to the non profit org. Your file gets sealed after the check.

I would not give out my personal financial info directly. They just want to protect themselves, but in doing so are requesting your personal info.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:49 PM   #9
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Any thoughts?
My thought would be to stonewall. Don't give up the information, but don't refuse to give up the information, either. Possibly they don't actually care enough to pursue the matter, or, if they do, perhaps they don't have a procedure ready for people who don't comply with their demands for information, so nothing will happen, or anything which could happen can be deferred indefinitely. And if they do actually care and can actually find some way to complain about your non-compliance, you can feel secure in explaining yourself just as you have to us -- it's your policy not to give out such information.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshopper View Post
I was elected as an officer in my communities non profit fire rescue org. Now the financial company we have wants SS#, date of birth, and a bunch of info that I hold close to me. The reason for this intrusion of my personal facts, is to give me access to funds held there.
Any thoughts?
You chose to be a public figure. If you want to continue to be one then it appears that there's a price to pay. You could tell them that you decline to provide the info, but your fellow officers may question your commitment.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by East Texas View Post
Many people seem to easily give out their personal identifying information without a second thought
I'm always amazed at this. It's increasingly common at stores around here that when you pay for an item, even with cash, the cashier automatically asks for your ZIP code, phone number and/or email. I see most people automatically providing all that information.

For ZIP code, I simply give them the code for the most densely populated part of downtown instead of my home ZIP, saying that's my office location.

For phone number, I just say "It's unlisted."

For email, I say "No."

I have never had a problem from refusing to provide this information.

My understanding is that the merchants turn it over to their data mining firms, who use your name (from the credit card you used), along with the other items such as ZIP code and phone number, to correctly identify you in terms of your address. Then it all goes into the big database where Big Brother can follow all the details of your life.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:40 AM   #12
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I'm always amazed at this. It's increasingly common at stores around here that when you pay for an item, even with cash, the cashier automatically asks for your ZIP code, phone number and/or email. I see most people automatically providing all that information.

For ZIP code, I simply give them the code for the most densely populated part of downtown instead of my home ZIP, saying that's my office location.

For phone number, I just say "It's unlisted."

For email, I say "No."

I have never had a problem from refusing to provide this information.

My understanding is that the merchants turn it over to their data mining firms, who use your name (from the credit card you used), along with the other items such as ZIP code and phone number, to correctly identify you in terms of your address. Then it all goes into the big database where Big Brother can follow all the details of your life.
I guess I am not understanding what is so private about zip code, phone number, and email address.

Anybody who knows where I live (or can look it up -- uh, tax records or phone book) can get my zip code, a code I share with thousands of others.

Phone number is listed.

Email address is not as easily available, but when I get an email that I do not want, I delete it. I have several email addresses, some specifically to give out when I wish not to disclose my "real" email address.



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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
My understanding is that the merchants turn it over to their data mining firms, who use your name (from the credit card you used), along with the other items such as ZIP code and phone number, to correctly identify you in terms of your address. Then it all goes into the big database where Big Brother can follow all the details of your life.
Your understanding is correct. The big three credit reporting bureaus (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax) have been doing this for decades and already know much more than most people think they do.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:48 AM   #13
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Pretty much the same here. And if for some reason they refused to sell me something because I wouldn't provide info, I'd go someplace else without hesitation.
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For ZIP code, I simply give them the code for the most densely populated part of downtown instead of my home ZIP, saying that's my office location. I give my work zip, which is different.

For phone number, I just say "It's unlisted." I give my landline number (disconnected 4 years ago).

For email, I say "No." I say, "No thanks"

I have never had a problem from refusing to provide this information. Ditto, why would the cashier care (they don't)?
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:56 AM   #14
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I am the director of a nonprofit and for the past few years, any officer with check signing abilities is required to give that info to the bank. I have to also give my info as a signer. Also, if you serve on a board, and the director does something like not pay the payroll taxes, they go after the board members for reimbursement. So being on a board can have financial responsibilities, if the board doesn't check the financials periodically. Plus the board can be sued. If that doesn't sound appealing to you, being a regular volunteer might be better. And even in some of those cases, you have to have some of the info for criminal history checks.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:32 AM   #15
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It all depends on whether or not I really wanted to be an officer of that non-profit. Your distrust of the institution that will hold your sensitive information is what concerns me. I'd deal with that first.

A complete background check is essential for anyone who has access to financial or other sensitive information. Non-profits are easy prey. 'American Greed' has aired many segments of people who have absconded with church funds. They should have conducted thorough background checks on all of their staff. They should also provide training so that staff properly handles sensitive information or be subject to prosecution. That is how you weed out the criminal elements.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:11 PM   #16
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I'm always amazed at this. It's increasingly common at stores around here that when you pay for an item, even with cash, the cashier automatically asks for your ZIP code, phone number and/or email. I see most people automatically providing all that information.
I can only speak for the large consumer electronics company I worked for (rhymes with "chest pie") and it's been over a happy half a decade since I left their corporate headquarters (so things have likely changed as privacy laws regarding what retailers can pull have changed for the better) but at that time, the only way we couldn't get information on you and correlate your purchasing history / slice you into a buying demographic was if you paid cash and weren't part of the loyalty program / bought an extended warranty.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:17 PM   #17
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A complete background check is essential for anyone who has access to financial or other sensitive information. Non-profits are easy prey. 'American Greed' has aired many segments of people who have absconded with church funds. They should have conducted thorough background checks on all of their staff. They should also provide training so that staff properly handles sensitive information or be subject to prosecution. That is how you weed out the criminal elements.
Even taking all that care, there are no guarantees. I belong to a non-profit organization where the treasurer embezzled over $65,000 back in 2003. It took four years to get him indicted, and another year and a half to get him sentenced and ordered to make restitution. After another two years, he has so far returned $15 out of the $65,000 he stole eight years ago.

Was there anything in his background that could have clued the board in about the likelihood of his thievery? Absolutely not. He was a well respected citizen with impeccable credentials.

Just pointing out that it's completely understandable that any non-profit would want to do everything possible to avoid a similar situation.
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Old 05-30-2011, 02:56 PM   #18
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Was there anything in his background that could have clued the board in about the likelihood of his thievery? Absolutely not. He was a well respected citizen with impeccable credentials.
Just pointing out that it's completely understandable that any non-profit would want to do everything possible to avoid a similar situation.
I was treasurer of a small non-profit for three years. (Yes, it was quite the educational experience.) It looks like that board forsook prevention & avoidance in favor of... detection or blind trust?

Most non-profits can't afford the cost of an audit, but any non-profit with access to that sort of money should've had dual-signature requirements and regular reviews by the audit committee. It's as simple as "Hey, next board meeting we want to see your checkbook and the bank's last three statements." I think those reviews are far more likely to avoid "unfortunate events" than background checks.

But most non-profits can't afford the talent, either. The non-profit I was with couldn't even find a replacement for me.
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:50 PM   #19
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I was treasurer of a small non-profit for three years. (Yes, it was quite the educational experience.) It looks like that board forsook prevention & avoidance in favor of... detection or blind trust?

Most non-profits can't afford the cost of an audit, but any non-profit with access to that sort of money should've had dual-signature requirements and regular reviews by the audit committee. It's as simple as "Hey, next board meeting we want to see your checkbook and the bank's last three statements." I think those reviews are far more likely to avoid "unfortunate events" than background checks.

But most non-profits can't afford the talent, either. The non-profit I was with couldn't even find a replacement for me.
Nords, I worry about this as I'm the Treasurer of a nonprofit. I make the deposits, pay the bills, do the tax return - basically everything financial.

The other board members trust me but I'm always trying to explain it's not a matter of trust - it's their fiduciary responsibility to look at what I do. I send them out a monthly spreadsheet detailing where every penny came and went, run every official filing by them and insist one of them take the records from me at least yearly to look over.

They are way too trusting. When I move on, I want them to be used to this kind of transparency and information so my replacement won't be free to mess up or rip them off.
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Old 05-30-2011, 05:11 PM   #20
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They are way too trusting.
A truly public spirited move would be to embezzle a few thousand, just to put your board on guard in the future.
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