In this post, we’ll take you step by step on how to freeze your employment data at The Work Number and verify that TWN has complied with your privacy opt out request.
Perform A Digital Data Audit
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of freezing TWN, let’s first check what the internet knows about you with a digital audit.
Start with a simple Google search for your name. This is where a nosy co-worker or HR would check first.
Then, head to ZoomInfo or Apollo.io and repeat the same search. Next, try searching for names of your significant other and relatives.
Did you find something surprising about yourself on your digital audit like work emails, phone numbers, and other contact information?
Recommendation: use our online privacy protection tools to remove any unnecessary public information about yourself, such as work emails, phone numbers, and employment information.
Why The Work Number (TWN) And Other Employment Verification Exists
Remember how once upon a time you needed a proof of employment while trying to rent an apartment or applying for a loan? Well, this is why TWN exists: to reduce your company HR department’s workload by sending your pay history to Equifax – like a marriage of convenience.
To clarify, TWN is an automated service for multiple parties to verify your pay information, such as a landlord or banker or future employer.
Without TWN and other employment verification services, your HR department would have to manually produce this proof of employment each time it’s needed – what a pain!
It’s also precisely why your employers are happy to submit their payroll data to TWN. Since this data is considered for the purpose of doing business, your permission is not required.
As an aside, some companies, such as Google, allow employees to opt out internally. But this is rare. Chances are your employers aren’t as progressive as Google on data privacy with their own employees – the irony. Instead, you’ll have to make the opt-out request directly with TWN.
Here’s where it gets interesting. TWN and other employment verification services could also be used to do pre or post-employment background checks. Read until the end to learn more.
And because you have multiple jobs, you’ll likely have multiple payroll vendors transmitting your pay information to TWN without you ever knowing. And no, you cannot stop this.
This means, collectively, TWN has your pay data from all employers down to the amount and pay period.
Recommendation: try to pull your own employment data report from TWN. This is a preview of what your employers would see if you didn’t freeze your TWN. Get started by following the steps below.
Steps To Request A Privacy Opt Out And Freeze With The Work Number
Step 1: Visit https://employees.theworknumber.com/ and sign up for access by searching for your employer. We recommend choosing a past employer or J1.
Follow the steps to register as a new user. You might need to find the employer code to use through your internal HR portal.
If you couldn’t find a past employer or J1, then sign up with your J2. It’s not a big deal which employer is used since TWN aggregates all your data by social security number (SSN) reported through payroll.
Step 2: Once you’ve confirmed your identity and logged in, on your home dashboard select “Employment Data Report.” Review this information. Don’t freak out – we’ve got you. Go onto the next step.
Step 3: Return to the home dashboard or click the menu icon on the top left. Select “Freeze Your Data.”
Step 4: On the “How to Place a Freeze” section, click to download the Employment Data Freeze Placement Form.
Follow the instructions on the form. Be prepared to jump through some hoops and potentially some back and forth.
Step 5: TWN will send you a letter to confirm the data freeze with a security pin to unfreeze should you need it. Keep this pin somewhere you’ll remember.
Also not a big deal if you lose your pin. You’ll just have to run through the process again to verify your identity in order to unfreeze.
Step 6: Log back into TWN with the employer you signed up with. Repeat step 2 and download your Employment Data Report.
Now notice a red section on the report stating a freeze is in place and all verifications are blocked. This is what you want to see.
Bonus: Repeat steps 1 and 2 by signing up your other Js. Review your employment data report from each J and verify your freeze is in place across all employers.
Summary of ‘OE’ risks from The Work Number
While it’s legal to work multiple jobs, there’s unfortunately no bullet proof way to hide your multiple income.
After all, if you’re doing everything above board and legally, the Social Security Agency (SSA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as credit agencies (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax, etc.) will know you’re working multiple jobs and how much you’re making. And that’s normal and ok.
What you should avoid is sharing too much information or leaving a data trail resulting in a mass firing from J1, J2, J3, and so on.
That’s why we recommend that you exercise your privacy rights and put a freeze on TWN as well as all the major credit agencies – out of extreme caution.
Because if you saw multiple “active” employers on your employment data report from TWN, then you can bet other verifiers will see that too.
Bonus Tip: Proceed with extra caution if your employers use the same benefits administrator for health savings account (HSA) and/or paid leave. They’re likely sharing your information with your employers.
Join our community and learn the ‘OE’ trade secrets
Shocked by what you just read and want to learn more? Come join our community and ask your questions. We’ve learned a lot from our mistakes and gotchas along our Overemployed journey, like what you just learned about TWN.
Our community has known about TWN for some time now — the largest but not the only employment verification service out there. We just weren’t ready to advertise our findings publicly until Equifax fired 24 of its own employees.
Equifax is now selling a product called “Talent Report Employment Monitoring” to any employers willing to pay for it. Yikes! Go place your freeze and protect your family from any unnecessary collateral damage.