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Re: SSN Use

At 11:15 AM 11/6/97 -0500, Peter Boyce wrote:
>This is getting even farther afield, but I wonder how many states use
>the SSN as the driver's license number.  I know the District of
>Clumbia does.  And, for all I know, they sell the lists to
>I have always worried about the SSN being on my license.  I guess the risk
>of theft is actually small. It is similar to sending credit card numbers
>actually had a problem is small, but the perception of risk as perceived by
>the public is enormous.
>Still, the privacy issue is an important matter.

No way. It is NOT similar to the theft of a credit card.  You can be the
victim of what is called true-name fraud. Starting with your SSN and your
name a thief can open numerous credit accounts in your name, run up the
charges, bail out to a personal finance company to consolidate all that
debt--all in your name--in your identity--and then skip out on the
consolidated loan.  Will you end up paying any of this?  Probably not. 
You won't even know it's happening because the thief hasn't used your real
address.  You'll find out when you try to get credit yourself.  Then it
will cost you myriad letters and phone calls to all the credit bureaus,
and numerous letters of explanation to the bank, credit card company, or
whomever you're seeking credit from.  Basically make your financial life
hell, maybe for a few years.  Got to meet a closing deadline on that house
of your dreams, or lose it?  Guess what. 

Not a small problem.  Privacy is not the issue, security is.

Dean Blobaum
The University of Chicago Press
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