U.S. Reps Kathy Castor (FL-14) and Dennis Ross (FL-15) introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent identity theft by uniformly truncating Social Security numbers on written documents. H.R. 2229, the Safeguarding Social Security Numbers Act of 2013 would mandate that Social Security numbers are truncated so that only a few, if any, of the nine digits of the Social Security number are visible.
"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."
"Identity theft is a serious issue in our community. For the past two years, Tampa has been the epicenter of tax fraud and identity theft crimes, involving more than $468 million in taxpayer money," said Rep. Castor, who has worked in Congress to tackle tax refund fraud and pressure the IRS to increase cooperation with local law enforcement, prevention measures and prosecutions. "More needs to be done to protect our neighbors, and this is bipartisan legislation to implement an important safeguard and reduce identity theft-related scams."
- Florida has the country's highest per capita rate of reported identity theft-related fraud complaints, with just under 70,000 complaints made in 2012 alone. (Source: FTCs Sentinel Network Data Book for 2012)
- H.R. 2229, the Safeguarding Social Security Numbers Act of 2013:
* Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to work with other relevant agency heads in creating and implementing a method to de-identify Social Security Numbers (SSN) that are stored and/or transmitted, particularly over the internet.
* Prohibits federal, state, and local governments from displaying, transferring, recording, or utilizing, in any capacity, the full SSN of living American citizens to the public.
* Converts a currently existing grant program that rewards entities for removing SSNs from public display, to one that will provide financial support to entities seeking to comply with this legislation.