US Reps. Castor and Ross take bipartisan aim at ID fraud

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Back in May, it was reported on Saint Petersblog that Florida leads the nation in identity theft, and not just by a little bit. According to statistics compiled from the Federal Trade Commission’s most recent Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, Florida’s rate is nearly double that of the second leading state — Georgia — and more than three times as high as the next in line — California, Michigan, New York, and Nevada.

US Rep. Dennis Ross wants to do something about that.  He and colleague Rep. Kathy Castor introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent ID theft by uniformly truncating Social Security numbers on written documents.   

“More than 70,000 Floridians were victims of identity theft in 2012,” said Ross. “Truncating Social Security numbers will help eliminate the ability to steal someone else’s identity and commit fraud. The Safeguarding Social Security Numbers Act of 2013 will ensure that our personal information remains personal and that everyone remains safe.”

HR 2229 requires the Commissioner of Social Security to work with relevant agency heads in creating and implementing a method to de-identify SSNs that are stored or transmitted – particularly over the internet.  It further prohibits federal, state or local governments from displaying, transferring, recording or utilizing the full SSN of living Americans to the public.  Finally, HR 2229 will convert a currently existing grant program to provide financial support to entities seeking to comply with this legislation.

Florida reported 70,000 incidents of identity theft in 2012, representing approximately 361 of every 100,000 Floridians.  Comparatively, Georgia reported 194 incidents per 100,000 residents.