Social Security Numbers Exposed by Government Officials and Social Networking
The Wall Street Journal reports: Consumers who have spent hours locking up their passports, shredding their billing statements and filing away their tax returns may soon learn they've wasted a great deal of time. Their efforts to shield themselves from identity theft by guarding their Social Security numbers are being undermined by government officials and social networking sites.
Originally created as a record-keeping system to manage the Social Security program, SSNs have quickly become the identifier most widely used by creditors, education institutions and health care and other service providers. They've also become a sought-after commodity in criminal circles. Identity fraud claimed 9.9 million victims last year – the highest in five years – and Social Security numbers were among the data most frequently compromised (38% of the time), along with names and addresses (43%), according to a report on identity fraud conducted by the research firm Javelin Strategy & Research.Is Hiding Your Social Security Number Worth It?
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