Identity Theft and Social Security Numbers. (Calling All Consumers)

By Adrianson, Alex | Consumers' Research Magazine, August 2002 | Go to article overview

Identity Theft and Social Security Numbers. (Calling All Consumers)


Adrianson, Alex, Consumers' Research Magazine


Identity theft can be a real nuisance--if not a harrowing experience--for the victim. Unfortunately, the news on this front has not gotten any better, particularly regarding Social Security numbers, as indicated by recent GAO reports and congressional testimony.

In addition to the hassle to victims of clearing up fraudulent bank accounts and credit card debts, the public is put at risk because identity theft is sometimes connected to more serious crimes like drug trafficking and terrorism. Last year, the Department of Justice found, for example, that 61 individuals working at the Salt Lake City International Airport had misused SSNs to obtain the highest level of security badge, and that 125 others had misused SSNs to obtain lower level badges.

SSNs are ubiquitous. Some have called them a "de facto national ID card." In addition to being used to determine eligibility and benefits for Social Security, SSNs are used by the Department of Agriculture, which collects them from both Food Stamp beneficiaries and the owners of retail businesses participating in the Food Stamp program; by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for housing programs; by the Department of Veterans Affairs, for veteran programs; by the Internal Revenue Service, which collects them on tax returns; by the Department of Education, which collects them from parents of financial aid applicants; and by any government agency that contracts with the private sector. States are also required to collect SSNs from beneficiaries in administering many joint state/federal assistance programs; and from parents before issuing a birth certificate. State and local governments also routinely collect SSNs from potential jurors and blood donors.

The ubiquity of the Social Security Number is what makes it both vulnerable and attractive to thieves. "SSNs play an important role in identity theft because they are used as breeder information to create additional false identification documents, such as drivers' licenses," says the GAO.

In spite of the usefulness of SSNs to criminals, the numbers are easily obtainable from public sources. The GAO found that many local governments and all federal, state, and local courts maintain public documents that identify individuals' SSNs.

The GAO also found that government agencies at all levels routinely fail to provide to individuals from whom they request SSNs with information required by law.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Identity Theft and Social Security Numbers. (Calling All Consumers)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.