Congress: instead of breaking the Internet how about fixing child identity theft?
According the the Carnegie Mellon CyLab one in ten – 10% – of children in the US have had their identity stolen. Most likely this is related to the relative ease with which social security numbers can be predicted.
As a parent this makes one want to start checking credit reports, but according to a Today Show segment on the topic “Advice for concerned parents on this point is nuanced. Both the FTC and the Identity Theft Resource Center say parents should not check their kids' credit reports on an annual basis.” Kids shouldn’t have credit reports, and if they do then checking them obsessively might do more harm than good by damaging their credit rating.
It doesn’t seem that complicated to me. How about at birth or when the child’s social security number is generated placing an automatic block on it until their 18th birthday? There should also be a process to register existing children with the credit rating agencies until automatic registration kicks in. Would this for some reason be difficult or controversial?
Also, is there a great reason for social security numbers to be short and based on states and birth years? I guess there’s a Y2K level problem to update every computer system, but converting SSNs to UUIDs sounds like a great stimulus program to me.
Apparently Representative Jim Langevin has introduced legislation to try and fix the problem for foster children. Which is great, but why just for one special group? If 10% of children (or anything like this number) really are affected then this is a pressing issue that should be getting a lot more attention.
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