Frequently Asked Questions


Open Government
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Privacy Act (PA)
Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)  


Directives Management  

What is a truncated Social Security number (SSN)?

A truncated SSN is the last four digits of an SSN. It is considered sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII), both stand-alone and when associated with any other identifiable information. Secure methods must be employed if needing to electronically transmit a truncated SSN.

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Can sensitive PII be sent by facsimile?

Yes, sensitive PII can be sent by facsimile, but the recipient must be notified before and after transmission. Also, include an advisory statement on the cover sheet about the content of the document(s). EXCEPTION:  According to the Commerce Acquisition Manual 1313.301 entitled “Department of Commerce Purchase Card Program,” cardholders shall not transmit credit card information over a facsimile machine.

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How do I mail sensitive PII?

Sensitive PII must be sealed in an opaque envelope or container. It must be mailed using First Class or Priority Mail, or through a commercial delivery service.

Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Office of Privacy and Open Government programs to

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce


Page last updated:October 28, 2016