Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Identity theft of children made all to easy by the way Social Security numbers are used


Michelle Singletary has an important column Wednesday December 5, 2012 on p A18 of The Washington Post, “Identity theft’s youngest victims”, link here

A survey found that children 6 to 11 are the most susceptible, and that 27% knew the perpetrator.
    
It’s surprising that an “Argo” fake identity can be created with a Social Security number and a different birth date.  Why don’t financial database systems require a 1:1 unique functional relationship? (One could think of an entire birthdate as a check digit on a social security number.)
   
The problem is more prevalent in low income families.

People sometimes don't find out their identities were copied until they are young adults and apply for credit or apartments. 
  
It’s easy to guess a social security number, because it isn’t random.  You hometown (on Facebook) is a starting point. 


Originally, Social Security numbers weren’t meant to be used as an identifying key.  They were just account numbers.  

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