Guard Your Social Security Numbers


Guard Your Social Security Numbers

In the summer of 2019, I was showing a building in Auburn Hills. The building had flooded and only one person was still working in it. I couldn’t tell if the business was a staffing firm or an accounting firm.   


During our first visit to the site, as we stood in the parking lot waiting for the listing agent to show us into the space, I happened to look down, and just inside a window, sitting on a ledge, was a stack of W-2 forms. Social security numbers were there for the taking, along with the contacts full names and addresses.   


We notified the agent to let the building owners knowyet on our next visit to the building, the information was still clear as day just sitting in the window. This time, there was also a dumpster in the back filled with former clients tax records.   


Personally, I never accept my clients’ tax records; I request they be sent directly to the landlord who has requested them. If a landlord asks to review your tax returns, cross off your social security number before sending. We have no idea how secure that landlords record-keeping will be.     


About the Author

Lynn Drake’s status is well known in the industry: She’s the commercial realtor focused on maintaining “true north” for her corporate clients. It’s a reputation built on 35 years of commercial real estate experience. Lynn became a commercial realtor in 2001 after 15 years in corporate real estate. Thus far in her career, Lynn has successfully completed over 1,500 real estate transactions ranging from small business tenant leases to the sale and purchase of industrial complexes.