Last month, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing to discuss the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) responsibility to do more to protect Americans from Social Security number (SSN)-related identity theft, as well as the government’s failure to help individuals whose SSNs have been compromised.
In his opening remarks at the hearing, subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) pointed out that “SSNs are used for any number of reasons, some required by law, others not. If you want a job, to buy a home, or to open a credit card, you need an SSN. But after countless data breaches, it’s clear that SSNs are far from safe and far from a secret. In 2022 alone, more than 1,100 data breaches included SSNs.”
He went on to say, “As the creator and issuer of SSNs, the Social Security Administration is uniquely positioned to not only combat SSN-related fraud but also to protect people whose SSNs have been compromised from harm from identity fraud. But Social Security’s policies don’t always make doing so easy.
“Today, we’ll have the opportunity to hear first-hand about how difficult resolving an issue related to a lost SSN can be and discuss some ways that the Social Security Administration could make it easier for Americans to protect themselves from harm before it occurs.
“… The American people deserve a similar response from government services when they are the victims of identity theft. Which is why I have partnered with Ranking Member Larson to reintroduce the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act, that would require the Social Security Administration to provide a single point of contact for individuals whose SSNs have been misused and help resolve cases as quickly as possible.”