I know this will not be news to a lot of you but to others it may come as a saving grace. To that end I want to make sure we share it.
When applying to a job, never give your social security number to a prospective employer. Do not provide that until you are hired or at least feel relatively certain they are a legitimate business. I know some companies want to do a background check first, prior to hiring – they check everyone before they hire anyone. Personally I haven't applied to any of those companies. I only apply to companies that check you after they've hired you. Yes, I may be losing an opportunity but to me not taking the risk is Well worth it.
Don't give them any bank account or credit card info either.
Likewise I also do not give my home address and I have a separate email account just for job applications. These measures make me feel safer in society the way it is today. The nightmare that is identity theft that I've heard from other people is something I don't wish to ever experience!
I would also suggest not having that private info on any website, online portfolios or resumes you've set up.
You have to be careful. It just isn't your grandma's work world anymore.