Social Security Number Use To Be Curbed
House Bill Would End Use of Social Security Numbers as ID
-- 14 July 2000.
A House subcommittee on Thursday proposed a bill that would ban the use of Social Security numbers as personal identifiers, preventing numbers
from being shown on driver licenses, or required for cashing a check or obtaining other services.
If passed, officials said, Social Security numbers would be barred from use as a national identification numbering system. The bill would also prevent soldiers from including the number as part of "name, rank and serial number." The change is urgently needed to prevent growing abuse of Social Security numbers by thieves and cons, Republican and Democratic sponsors of the bill said at a Capitol Hill press conference. Members are also concerned that private companies can legally buy and sell them as marketing tools, further eroding personal privacy.
"Social Security numbers have become the gateway for crooked con-artists to raid your bank accounts, max out your credit cards and literally steal your identity," said Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fla., chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee.
Allegations of "identity theft" using the numbers increased from 26,531 in fiscal year 1998 to 62,000 in fiscal 1999, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.
"I am a victim of identity theft," declared Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., who said someone obtained a credit card in his name using a Social Security number and charged $785 worth of goods. He added that the theft resulted in constant phone calls from a collection agency seeking relief.
"I found myself overwhelmed with the number of calls I placed and the horrible treatment I received by the credit reporting bureau," Foley said. "This has to be frustrating, particularly for seniors or people who are less likely to pursue it as vigorously as I did."
Officials said the bill would ban all sales of Social Security numbers, prohibit government agencies from displaying the numbers, remove the numbers from government checks and prohibit their appearance on licenses, vehicle registration and other identification records. It would also prohibit most businesses from denying service when individuals refuse to provide their Social Security numbers. An exception would be made for banks, which must report some transactions to the government.
The measure would also strengthen penalties for misuse. Criminal violators would face up to $250,000 in fines and five years imprisonment. Civil fines for lesser offenses could be imposed up to $5,000.
The bill is backed by a bipartisan group within the House Ways and Means Committee. Lawmakers said they planned action on the bill in committee
next week. *
* Revelation 13:16, 17, 14:9-11 "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name. .... If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."J.A.I.L. (Judicial Accountability Initiative Law)
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