I was ready to buy. Had just told the sales clerk at the Verizon store that I would pay $600 (now! I was NOT asking for any credit) to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone, and take a no-contract monthly mobile telecommunications service arrangement. The transaction stopped when I was asked for my social security number. The clerk already had my driver's licence, and had apparently scanned it and retained the image. I asked the clerk to check with his supervisor and confirm Verizon really wanted to lose this sale. The answer was yes, the Verizon software REQUIRES the SSN. They won't sell me a phone without me revealing my social security number. This is America. Free markets, and all that. I support Verizon's ability to set that policy: they can choose to not sell to me unless I provide them x, y and $. But of course I also support my ability as a consumer to say "no thanks" to the exchange, and walk away, which I did. So my question is: Why? Why does Verizon do this? In my case, it is hard to say that it is credit risk for the monthly bill I would have to pay. They would have made a gross profit margin of several hundred dollars on the sale of the $600 Android phone to me. Then, even if I was some sort of scofflaw and tried to bilk them of the monthly fee, they could easily shut me down and still be dollars-ahead on the sale of the expensive piece of consumer electronics. I don't get the logic on the Verizon end. Why leave my cash transaction unmade just because they want (and perhaps need, for many folks who aren't fronting the large purchase with so much cash) more identifying info? Does anyone understand this? Do other carriers require this?