Posts Tagged ‘Social’
Stolen Social Security Number
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 June 2012 08:46 Written by Celframe Security Team Wednesday, 10 October 2012 05:28
By Henry Bagdasarian
I heard on National Pubic Radio (NPR) that about 10% of children face stolen social security number (SSN) cases. Although social security number theft affects people of all ages, races and genders, children are more vulnerable to the misuse of their social security numbers because first, their parents do not periodically and actively monitor their identities and second, they do not engage in transactions whereby identity fraud may be detected due to the verification of their personal records or credit to process the transaction.
The specific child identity theft story I heard on NPR reported by Andrea Smardon was about a child whose parents discovered that their child’s SSN was stolen and misused before the child was born. Yes, what attracted my attention to this stolen social security number story was that the personal identifier which happened to be the SSN in this case was stolen and used by identity thieves before the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued and assigned the number to the child when she was born. This incident of an SSN being misused before the SSA formally issued the number raises many questions but primarily what steps does the SSA take to ensure the social security numbers that it issues and assigns to new borns are clear of any fraud and misuse? How could the SSA unknowingly issue stolen social security numbers? I am certain that the SSA does not knowingly issue a stolen social security number but I wonder which scenario is worse.
Misuse of stolen Social security numbers is not an uncommon occurrence and in fact when we consider the negligence applied by all parties, we can see the storm clouds present over the protection and integrity of social security numbers as personal identifiers. First, as evidenced in this reported incident, we learn that the SSA is issuing social security numbers which already exist and are in full circulation within our society, next, given the number of employment and credit identity theft cases, we can assume that employers and creditors are not doing a good job at verifying the connection of a given SSN to the person who is providing the SSN as their own identifier, and third, people fail to monitor their identities especially the social security number of their children looking for potential signs of stolen social security number and identity fraud possibly due cost considerations or lack of awareness. The combination of these careless behaviors by all parties leads to increase risks of stolen social security number and misuse.
The worst part of the theft of a social security number is the aftermath of such cases. As I continued to listen to this story, I could not believe that parents who discover that their child’s identity has been stolen and misused for many years have no immediate and quick solution. Given that identity theft is relatively a new crime at the scale that we see today; the police departments don’t have clear directions about what to do to help minor victims of identity theft and their parents. In this particular case and surprisingly, the Social Security Administration even refused to take responsibility and help the parents correct the issue that they helped create by failing to verify that the new social security number they were issuing was clean and without any past history. The parents were finally able to attract the attention of their Attorney General to investigate the matter however parents who face child identity theft cases must be patient as it may take months or years to clean a child’s identity history depending on the severity of the cases. But, all the efforts made before the child reaches the legal age to apply for credit or employment is worth it since the young adult will be able to move on with her life without delay and having to fight matters that we created for them before they were born in some cases.
As we can see, social security number theft can occur before a person is born as well as after the SSN is issued regardless of whether the person received the SSN at birth or upon coming to the country as an immigrant.
We need to monitor our identities and look for signs of stolen social security number and if we detect a case of SSN misuse, we need to ask for and receive help from any entity which is willing to help out and clear the negative SSN history as soon as possible. I hope that the Social Security Administration will take the necessary steps to prevent such incidents that they help create by failing to apply due diligence in their SSN management and operations and help those victims who report SSN misuse and desperately look for help.
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Scammers Hop On Social Media Darling Pinterest
Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 01:20 Written by Celframe Security Team Friday, 3 August 2012 07:28
If the folks behind the photo sharing Web site Pinterest were looking for some validation that their fledgelings social media site had “arrived,” they got it this weekend, after scammers jumped on the site and used it to direct Pinterest users to survey scam Web sites.
Trend Micro researchers report that scammers have launched a number of campaigns on the site to lure victims to a Web site asking them to complete a survey. The scam is similar to those that have long propagated on sites like Facebook, where scammers often jump on big news events, or fabricate news of their own to trick users into filling out the online surveys.
Pinterest is a fast-growing social networking Web site that lets users post and share photos and videos with their friends. According to a post on the Trend Micro Web site, researchers at the firm noticed reposts of photos claiming to be free offers from Starbucks and Coach leather. Upon further examination, those photos linked back to the same survey Web site.
Social Security Number Verification
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 June 2012 08:50 Written by Celframe Security Team Thursday, 21 June 2012 03:52
Many businesses must rely on a social security number verification as a first step to validate a consumer’s identity. Similar to many other courtiers, the United States of America issues a personal and unique identifier also called a Social Security Number (SSN) to help identify and track the US population. The social security numbers are issued and managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Businesses rely on social security numbers to make business decisions, create and manage accounts, identify customers, assign new identifiers and track transaction history.
Social Security Number History
The original purpose of the SSN which the Social Security Administration (SSA) started assigning to individuals in 1936 was to track workers’ earnings and pay benefits. Since its inception and until 2011, the 9 digit SSN was comprised of a three-digit area number, followed by the two-digit group number and four-digit serial number. The area number reflects the state as determined by the ZIP code in the mailing address of the application.
The SSA changed the way Social Security Numbers are issued on June 25, 2011. This change also referred to as “randomization” was developed to help protect the integrity and longevity of the SSN.
According to the SSA, the SSN randomization will affect the SSN creation and assignment process in the following ways:
• The random number will eliminate the geographical significance of the first three digits of the SSN, currently referred to as the area number, by no longer allocating the area numbers for assignment to individuals in specific states. Previously unassigned area numbers will be introduced for assignment excluding area numbers 000, 666 and 900-999.
• The randomized number will eliminate the significance of the highest group number and, as a result, the high group list will be frozen in time and can be used for validation of SSNs issued prior to the randomization implementation date.
To help businesses identify their customers, the SSA established the Consent Based Social Security Number Verification or CBSV system which allows enrolled companies to pay per transaction as they access the SSA database and verify SSN related information in order to validate the identity components provided by a consumer.
As indicated before, SSN verification is just a first step for verifying and validating the accuracy of personal information provided by a person claiming to be their information such as name, SSN, date of birth and gender. The reason why such verification is just a first step is because fabricated personal information provided by an individual may match the information received by the SSA and negatively impact business decisions. Just because the information provided by a person matches the information received from the SSA, it is by no means an indication that the person is who he claims to be because the information may be stolen and documents may be fabricated bypassing the first layer of identity theft detection controls. Even the SSA has a disclaimer on its website by saying that “Please note that the results obtained from CBSV do not confirm or authenticate proof of identity”. However, well trained employees such as Certified Red Flag Specialists (CRFS) may verify the authenticity of personal documents provided by an individual as a second layer of identity theft detection controls, ensuring valid and accurate information belong to the information provider. For example, if a customer is a male but the SSA data indicates that the SSN belongs to a female, the fraud case is easy to detect, however, if all identity components provided by the customer match the description of the SSN data, then businesses may be less suspecting. As a second and third verification steps, additional documentation or information must be obtained from the customers and other sources, and the authenticity of submitted documents must be established to ensure the information provided is accurate and valid.
More about CBSV
The Consent Based Social Security Number Verification or CBSV is not a free social security number verification service but rather a service provided by the SSA to enrolled private companies and government agencies. The one-time non-refundable enrollment fee is $ 5000 and each verification costs $ 5. The CBSV provides instant and automated verification of SSN related information and can handle large volumes of transactions. Primarily, CBSV verifies whether a name and social security number provided by a person match the information in the SSA data records. The SSA master file is used by the CBSV system to confirm a person’s name, SSN, date of birth and gender with a Yes or No verification code. The system even reports a death indicator if the person is deceased.
Benefits of CBSV
Any company can use CBSV for identity verification purposes including pre-employment verification and compliance. For financial transactions, CBSV can also be used for loan origination, acquisitions and collection efforts.
One of the major benefits of the CBSV system is that the information provided by the system is not polluted or erroneous similar to other sources of personal information such as credit report information because fake credit information may be created and not be detected by credit bureaus, companies and consumers victimized by the perpetrators.
Companies interested in learning more about the CBSV process, its benefits and enrollment process can visit the SSA Consent Based Social Security Number Verification website or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if the number of verification transactions do not warrant the enrollment cost of $5000, businesses can partner with enrolled companies which already have a connection with the SSA to verify identities as needed.
One such company is Computer Information Development LLC (CID) which has been working with the Social Security Administration on their Consent Based Social Security Number Verification service since 2004. CID is the first CBSV enrolled company to build a direct interface into the SSA Master File and Death Index and provide its clients real time and instantaneous results from its IDValidation web platform.
Contact Identity Management Institute for more information about social security number verification.