Senator Charles J. Fuschillo today announced that the State Senate has approved legislation that would make it illegal to sell or buy Social Security account numbers. Senator Fuschillo is a sponsor of the measure which would help to combat the growing threat of identity theft using stolen Social Security numbers (SSN).
Senator Fuschillo (Merrick), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, said, "A Social Security number is one of the most valuable pieces of information for an identity thief. We must do everything we can to safeguard consumers’ information and keep it out of the hands of these scam artists."
According to officials at the Social Security Administration, instances of SSN misuse investigations, which almost always involve fraud, have nearly tripled in recent years.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our nation. Identity thieves obtain consumers’ personal identifying information and use that information to take out loans and credit in the name of their victims.
Social Security numbers are vitally important in today’s market place because they are a unique, permanent, and nearly universal identifier for essentially each working adult in the United States. Often, little more than a name and SSN is needed for an identity thief to apply for credit or a loan. Therefore, protecting consumers’ Social Security numbers is critical to preventing identity theft.
This legislation (S. 1448) would establish a Class E felony (up to four years in prison) for those who knowingly sell or purchase another person’s Social Security number.
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