Stolen social security numberPhoto credit | Social Security Administration

Identity fraud is a huge burden for victims, and to taxpayers as a whole. With cyber-criminals becoming more efficient at their crimes, it is necessary to find ways to better protect American citizens. Security experts believe one of those ways, could be to end the use of social security numbers.

In the wake of the major hack at Equifax, one of the top three credit reporting agencies, the Trump administration is exploring new ways to deal with threats. Replacing social security numbers with safer and more modern technology is one of the options. White House cyber-security Czar, Rob Joyce, is heading up the initiative.

One possibility says Joyce, is using cryptographic keys or a combination of long random numbers. Either choice will provide individuals a secure means of storing and accessing sensitive personal data. Better yet, should this information be compromised, the key or numbers can be instantly changed.

Significantly, the Equifax data breach is affecting more than 145 million consumers. Social security and driver’s license numbers, credit card data, and a host of other personal information were stolen. And, Yahoo is announcing that more than three billion people are facing some exposure from a hack of their system.

Speaking at a cyber-security summit on Tuesday, Joyce admits it is time for things to change. “I believe the Social Security number has outlived its usefulness,” he says. “It’s a flawed system that we can’t roll back after a breach.” Moreover, fraudulent use of social security numbers has a significant impact on an already overburdened system.

Necessary Improvements

Photo credit | Trend Micro

President Trump often addresses the need to stop fraud within the Social Security Administration. As we have previously reported, the SSA ranks third among all government agencies in term of abuse. Fraudulent claims and improper payments are resulting in losses surpassing ten billion dollars.

It stands to reason that reducing or altogether eliminating the threat is a win-win for everyone. Less fraud equals higher benefit payments, lower prices, and fewer taxes.

Nevertheless, there are miles to go before changes like these can happen. Ending the antiquated use of social security numbers won’t occur overnight. But, it needs to happen nonetheless. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the criminals who are apparently much better at using it than our government is.  


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