20 Million Americans, One Social Security Number's Not Enough
Posted by Charles Cooper
million Americans have more than a single social security number associated
with their names.
How did that happen? Chalk it up to a combination of fraud
and human errors.
majority of these cases are likely due to data entry errors which occur
somewhere along the food chain of these credit applications and then they
propagate in the system," according to Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology
officer, ID Analytics, the consumer risk management company, which published a
recent study disclosing its findings. Among other things, ID Analytics found
6.1 percent of Americans have at least two SSNs
More than 100,000 Americans have five or more SSNs
More than 15 percent of SSNs are associated with two or more
More than 140,000 SSNs are associated with five or more people
More than 27,000 SSNs are associated with 10 or more people
accounts for about 15% to 20% of the total, where applicants deliberately
provide the wrong social security number. But Coggeshall noted that human
errors during the course of the credit-granting process account for most of the
screw-ups. "Let's say that you apply to a company and the person on the
telephone incorrectly enters the number incorrectly, that problem will be
associated with the person whose number they entered incorrectly,"
Coggeshall said. "These kinds of errors tend to be cumulative; once they
happen, they tend to stick."
Update: A spokesman for the Social Security
Administration emailed a prepared statement to CBSNews.com, noting that
"as other entities use the SSN for purposes beyond what it was created
for, problems like those indicated in the report are going to happen.??"
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