Posted: 15 March 2012
Last Updated: 16 March 2012
Published: 15 March 2012
So if you have been following my blog you will know that most of the articles I write are from my own experience, readings, research, etc. Well this one is from my own experience. I am hoping to raise awareness and maybe our government will make changes but in light of precedence, I am not holding my breath. In the United States, we have the infamous Social Security number. This number is used to identify us to the government but also links us to our credit history and practically all things finance related in our lives.
Losses from stolen identities continue to grow and that is just the quantifiable damage. Forget the hours lost fighting and repairing your credit and identity. The FTC has a document called the Sentinel Annual Report, which is a comprehensive report of fraud and identity theft statistics. This can be downloaded here: FTC SENTINEL REPORT From 2010 to 2011 the FTC reports an increase of 28,051 complaints or ten percent. Remember this is only the reported incidents many go unreported.
As you can see identity theft is a growing problem. However, you would not think our own government would be creating opportunity. How are they doing this? Well I have mentioned two ways already above, allowing the social security number to be used for everything instead of just for tax purposes and government benefits as it was intended, and by not having stricter consumer laws to protect gathering, sharing and selling of OUR information. The third way was made apparent to me this year.
I received a correspondence from the IRS. On the envelope it was clearly labeled, Internal Revenue Services. Inside were documents, most of which had my complete SS# and current name and address. Had someone decided to take this or open it he would have had the most important pieces of my identity. The only thing they would be missing is my drivers license number and my picture. The latter, which they could get from my Linked In profile. In addition, from what I have read not having my drivers license would probably not be much of a hurdle.
So if anyone from the Government happens to stumble upon this article please have the IRS send documents in a plain white envelope and not have my complete SS# plastered on all the contents. I know what my SS# is and you do because you sent me the documents. It is like giving your keys to a car thief. While you are reading this, maybe change the laws to protect my privacy better as well.