Back to the Basics – Ensuring Your Privacy, Leave the EIN Out!

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By: Nidaal Jubran

Be mindful of the information you are transmitting electronically. We often receive requests for a number of items surrounding AES, such as resolutions for fatal errors, tracking AES responses for shipments, initiating suppressions, etc. In doing so, some people provide their company’s sensitive information through email, particularly their company’s Employer Identification Number (EIN). This should be avoided. EIN information should never be transmitted to the Census Bureau via email. Although we require your EIN to identify your company’s profile in the AES and to service your AES needs, there are other ways for you to provide this information to us, indirectly. The best, and safest, way for you to send this information is by providing a previously accepted Internal Transaction Number (ITN) filed by your company. Your EIN is directly linked to your ITN. Once we have this information we can safely and securely identify your company’s information.

There are plenty of other business practices you can adopt to protect your EIN. I’ve listed a few of them below:

  • Do not reply or forward an email message that contains an EIN in the thread history. If you must reply or forward the message, make sure that the message history is not included in your reply. You have the option to send a reply without including the full history of the email thread.
  • Do not include your company’s EIN in the subject line of your email message. I do see this from time to time when I am monitoring the ASKAES mailbox, and when this happens I always remind the user that this is not a safe business practice.
  • Do not submit your EIN as an attachment within a message. Although it appears to be secure, and safer than including the EIN in the body of the message itself, this type of practice should be avoided.
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3 Responses to Back to the Basics – Ensuring Your Privacy, Leave the EIN Out!

  1. Edith Folta says:

    This is rather bizarre to me, as we are asked to provide our EIN number to all kinds of people for all kinds of purposes such as employment verification.

  2. Nidaal says:

    Hello Edith,

    You are correct that companies are asked to provide their EIN to many individuals for many different purposes. However, the Census Bureau is mandated under Title 13 to protect the information that is contained in the Automated Export System. This statutory responsibility to protect the information collected in the AES is implemented in the Foreign Trade Regulations, Title 15, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 30.60.

  3. Edith Folta says:

    The EIN is also required on NAFTA certificates of origin, which are hand-carried, faxed, and e-mailed to customs brokers and customers.

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