H.R. 3046 would go far in deterring the widespread and unnecessary sale, purchase and display of social security numbers (SSNs) that contribute to the identity theft epidemic that affects approximately eight million Americans every year. The SSN is bought and sold by businesses. The sale of SSNs makes it too easy for the number to fall into the wrong hands. A thief who has a SSN may be able to open up new accounts in the name of the SSN owner. The business of buying and selling SSNs must stop except for limited and necessary purposes, like law enforcement and national security. And no one should be able to display a SSN on the public Internet , or on ID or membership cards, or offer it for sale to anyone wishing to buy it. H.R. 3046 already provides for necessary exemptions for law enforcement, public health and safety. It already addresses well-defined, legitimate business needs for the SSN.
The bill allows consumer reporting agencies to continue to purchase and sell SSNs when necessary to extend credit. Any other exceptions would undermine the protections of the bill. Social security numbers provide the key to my financial identity. This legislation would go far to remedy the unnecessary and widespread availability of SSNs and help reduce identity theft.