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Bill Would Remove Social Security Numbers

The most basic advice for protecting your own identity is to protect your Social Security number. The obvious solution is simply never to disclose your number, but this is silly, since, depending on your age, you have probably provided it to hundreds of people, on hundreds of forms. It now sits in hundreds of databases, accessible to thousands, and possibly even available for sale.

40 million Medicare subscribers currently have their Social Security numbers printed on their Medicare cards. This means that their identities are at risk every time they hand over their cards, and in the event that any of their wallets are ever stolen.

The proposed “Social Security Number Protection Act” would resolve this issue by prohibiting Social Security numbers from appearing on Medicare cards or on any communications to Medicare beneficiaries, as well as requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate the unnecessary collection of Social Security numbers.

Social security numbers should certainly be removed from Medicare cards and any other cards, for that matter. But while this bill is a step in the right direction, it cannot protect any of those 40 million subscribers from future fraud.

Only identity theft protection, in combination with a credit freeze, will begin to protect citizens from the new account fraud associated with stolen Social Security numbers.

With more than 11 million victims last year alone, identity theft is a serious concern. 


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