Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How many people's identity is stolen? 1 in 7.

Whether you know it or not, you probably know at least one person whose Social Security number has been stolen. Bob Sullivan at MSNBC's "The Red Tape Chronicles" reports that a new study shows that 1 in 7 people's Social Security number is being used by someone else, too.

That's a lot of SS fraud. Think of 6 people you know. Odds are that at least one of you is sharing your Social Security number with someone. Probably without knowing it. I know two people whose purses were stolen out of their cars. That could be two more shared SS #'s. Is someone using yours? How many someones? 10 people or more are using some numbers. Some are illegals using them to get jobs, some are getting credit, some are legitimate mistakes.

Think about all the times over the years you've rattled off your Social Security number in public. If you're old enough you may have been getting to the front of a line at Tech (or another university) and giving your full name and social with 10 people in hearing range. All it takes is one crook with a good memory. Or a recorder. Fortunately today most places will only ask for the last 4 of the social, if that. But how many times have you handed your identity to a room full of people without thinking about it?