Open an account at ANY bank without using SSN




One of the biggest obstacles facing anyone wishing to live without a SSN is the problems associated with opening a bank account. As you probably know there isn't a bank in this country that will open an account of any kind without getting your SSN or Tax Id number. Of course the SSN is what the IRS uses to track your finances, build a case against you and/or assess you if you haven't filed a 1040.
You may be suprised to find out that you can open an account at ANY bank without using SSN.
This is the law governing banks and ID numbers:
31 CFR 103.28 requires identification as follows:
Before concluding any transaction with respect to which a report is required under Sec. 103.22, a financial
institution shall verify and record the name and address of the individual presenting a transaction, as well as
record the identity, account number, and the social security or taxpayer identification number, if any, of
any person or entity on whose behalf such transaction is to be effected. (Emphasis added)
So they are required to ask for a SSN but notice the words "if any". Clearly it is not a requirement. There is also no law prohibiting a finacial institution form opening an account without a SSN.
31 CFR 103.34 provides:
In the event that a bank has been unable to secure . . . the required identification, it shall nevertheless not be deemed to be in violation of this section if (i) it has made a reasonable effort to secure such identification, and (ii) it maintains a list containing the names, addresses, and account numbers of those persons from whom it has been unable to secure such identification, and makes the names, addresses, and account numbers of those persons available to the Secretary as directed by him. So, there is even a provision in the law in case the bank can't get a SSN from a customer. They merely have to make a notation in record of those it hasn't been able to secure a number .
As a matter of fact, if the bank tells you that it is required by law when it actually isn't they are in violation of the law.
18 U.S.C. Sec. 242 and 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 provides that:
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than
one year, or both; 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 further provides that a violator shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
Now, that is pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The violater is even liable for damages!
42 U.S.C. Sec. 408 provides that:
Whoever ... (8) discloses, uses, or compels the disclosure of the social security number of any person in violation of the laws of the United States; shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.
It's even a felony!
These two PDF files should help you to secure your bank account.  Bank Notice  is a notice that we feel should be posted in a conscious location at every bank.  Constructive Notice is a "Constructive Notice"
Here is a procedure:
Make sure you have multiple copies of each of these documents and go to the bank of your choice. Do not go to any bank that you currently do business with or have done business with in the past. They will have your SSN on record.
Bring someone with you.
Sit down with the manager or customer service person. Remember you are just there to open up an account and you do not want to cause trouble. You may want to ask if they have any discriminatory policy whatsoever i.e. race, national origin, religious etc. They will of course say that they don't. Very good.
Fill out any necessary paperwork just leave the SSN field blank.
If they don´t ask for your SSN because you "forgot" you are very fortunate. It probably won't happen. When they do ask for it explain that you don't have one or you will not use it for religious or political reasons. Take your pick, you don't have to give him one. Then hand him Bank Notice and let him/her read it. While they are perusing that pull out  Constructive Notice and fill it out with the persons name, the institution's name and sign it. Have your witness sign it and place it on the desk.
The manager/rep will undoubtedly explain that it is the bank´s policy not to open accounts without a SSN. You may let them know that their policy is in violation of the law. Explain that you understand they may not be familiar with this aspect of the law and you are more than willing to let them research it. Offer to come back in an hour or two. If that's not enough time you can come back tomorrow. The only stipulation here is that you want to give them a deadline. You don't want to give them the opportunity to keep holding you off.
Once you give them the Constructive Notice they have been legally notified. If they still will not open an account they are in clear violation of the law. You then have the right to report them to the attorney general, your congressman, representative, etc. Not only will the bank be liable but the person you dealt with will be personally liable. You can also file a suit yourself for damages. More to come on this point soon