Social Security Number Theft CAN be Stopped



With a simple email alert message much like the emails that the banks and credit card companies send when an unusual condition occurs.

The scenario goes something like this: The thief applies for a loan at a financial institution using your child's pristine Social Security Number with a non blemished credit score. As part of the approval process, the bank notifies you that credit has been requested using your child's number.  You notify the bank that the application is fraudulent.  The theft is averted.

The IRS could use this service to notify a taxpayer that a tax return had been processed and a refund is being issued so the taxpayer would know immediately if a fraudulent claim had been made and the government could save some of the billions of dollars lost to tax return fraud.  Medicare could likewise validate claims.

Once adopted, this simple, voluntary tool could stop a large percentage of ID thefts.


Implementation

1. The owner of the number (or parent) logs into his account at the Social Security Administration and gives his email address.  This account already exists for anyone with a Social Security Number.   For example, John Smith whose Social Security Number is 123456789 would enter his email address JS@gmail.com.

2. Either the Social Security Administration creates an email forwarding service or it provides a Social Security Number to email address translation file to a third party email forwarding service.  Thus enabling, for example, an email sent to  Social Security Number 123456789 (e.g. 123456789@ssnalert.gov) to be forwarded to JS@gmail.com.  This service would provide email privacy, spam filtering, and automatic acknowledgement to the sender. 

3.  The FDIC or other rule making agency would require that whenever the Social Security Number is used for the purpose of establishing credit, an email be sent to the owner of that number alerting him that credit is being considered.  


Estimated Cost

Programming - If done at SSA by experienced programmer familiar with SSA systems, less than one man-month.

Programming - If done outside SSA by experienced programmer, less than two man-months.

Prototype forwarding server capable of handling more than a half million email forwards per month, less than $100 per month.

 



by  Isaac @ qsys.us

Thirty years writing software for the financial industry