Do Pawn Shops Need Your Social Security Number – MAYBE!

Brian McCracken


So this is a weird question that I sometimes get asked and to be honest with you, I’m not entirely sure why I do. It’s whether or not pawn shops need your social security number in order for you to sell something or make a loan on something.
The bottom line here is that in most states, pawn shops do not need your social security number in order to make a loan against something or if you are just selling something outright.
That having been said, if a pawn shop offers other financial services such as other loan instruments then you may need to provide your social security number but those are really unique situations in which the pawn shop offers something outside of the traditional pawn loan or sale on an item.
Now, if you recall, I did say in most states pawn shops don’t need social security numbers. You’ve got to read that exactly for what it is.
In some states, pawn shops may be required to get your social security number in order to do business with them but those are really not the average situation and very much the rare or uncommon case.
Now, to this line of questioning the next biggest thing that I get asked is why – and I reply to that by asking why does it matter?
Pawn shops are required to comply with State and local laws and in some cases, that may require them to ask you for your social security number.
Pawn Shops And Bad Guys
To be clear, I don’t see a big problem with pawn shops requiring social security numbers for the majority of customers. In fact, the only people that I can see having a problem with this are people who are doing something that they probably shouldn’t be doing.
Let me go just one step further so that we are perfectly clear on the matter. I don’t think anyone that is using a pawn shop for completely honest and ethical reasons ever has a problem providing their social security number and I would go on to suggest that the only people that would have a major problem with the practice are criminals who want to avoid prosecution.
That having been said, since the pawn shops are going to require your ID anyways, what’s the difference if they require your social security number as well?
If you are doing something illegal, you’re going to get popped one way or the other. That’s just the nature of the business.
The truth is that while many people think that pawn shops are someplace you can go, hide and sell stolen merchandise, that’s actually the exact opposite of what is true these days.
You Can’t Sell Stolen Things At Pawn Shops Anymore
Well, okay, that’s not entirely true – you will still get some guys out there that manage to sell their stolen merchandise at pawn shops but they aren’t the brightest out there anymore.
You see, pretty much all pawn shops are required by state law to report to their local police departments on the transactions that they conduct each day, including the items that they take in and the serial numbers associated with those items..
Because of that, it’s much harder than you might think to sell something that is stolen at a pawn shop and get away with it. It just doesn’t work in this day of easy reporting and information sharing between pawn shop and police departments.
So if you are a bad guy looking to sell something stolen and are worried about giving away your social security number I would say that you’ve got much more to worry about than just that.
The Bottom Line
In some states you may have to give a pawn shop you social security number but it’s not for anything malicious, it’s just to discourage stolen merchandise from coming into pawn shops.
Really it’s a benefit to everyone involved for pawn shops to be taking down social security numbers because it allows for transparency and honest, ethical transactions to occur between the public and the pawn shops in question.
On top of it, it’s a real tool for law enforcement to use in the event that somebody does manage to sneak something stolen into a pawn shop at some point in time.
So if you are thinking about doing business with your local pawn shop and you aren’t doing anything that you should be worried about – then I would say there is no reason to be concerned if the pawn broker asks for your social security number. Chances are that they are required to by law and it’s simply something used to go after bad guys that shouldn’t be doing whatever it is that they are thinking about doing, for better or worse.