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High-tech Social Security cards may join battle against ID theft

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High-tech Social Security cards may join battle against ID theft

Old 02-13-08, 05:11 PM
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High-tech Social Security cards may join battle against ID theft

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...0,471611.story

2 lawmakers expected to introduce bill that will make cards, IDs safer


U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) shows a proposed new Social Security card at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. (Tribune photo by Kuni Takahashi / February 11, 2008)

By Azam Ahmed | Tribune reporter
February 12, 2008


In an effort to help combat identity theft and fraud, two Illinois congressmen are expected to introduce legislation Tuesday they hope will enhance the security features of Social Security cards.

The proposed cards would feature a photograph and fingerprint, as well as a computer chip, bar code and magnetic strip. The cards would be modeled after the Common Access Card issued by the Department of Defense, mostly to active military reserve members and their dependents, said U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a sponsor of the bill. Current Social Security cards have limited security features and have no photo or biometric data, he said.

"One of the ways that modern criminals use to attack ... is by falsifying or counterfeiting Social Security cards," Kirk said. "We think that a Social Security card should be hard to forge [and] that it should also make it easy to catch an identity-theft crime."

Waukegan Police Chief Bill Biang said that a counterfeit Social Security card can be bought for $200 to $500.

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), co-sponsor of the bill, said that more than $49 billion a year is lost because of identity theft. According to a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office, employers reported the use of 1.4 million Social Security numbers that don't exist.

The new cards would also enable employers to verify their employees' Social Security numbers more easily, Roskam said.

More than 12 million Social Security cards are issued every year to adults, and the legislation would require anyone older than 15 to have a new card. Production costs for the new cards would be nearly $8 a card, up from about 50 cents now, Kirk said, and each card would take about 15 minutes to make.

Kirk stressed that the new card would not be a panacea to identity theft and fraud, but would help victims prove their identity.

"The point is not to make a big step, but to make a modest upgrade," he said.

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Copyright 2008, Chicago Tribune

Chris
Old 02-13-08, 05:16 PM
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Finally, they're trying to do something.

I've been saying for a while that we need to come up with something to replace the flimsy SS card.

Photo ID is OK, but not sure about fingerprint. The latter could be pretty expensive, but Disney uses finger print scanners at their parks to match the tickets. So it might be cheaper now.
Old 02-13-08, 07:03 PM
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Seriously, my SS card is so fragile I'm afraid to touch it.
Old 02-13-08, 07:06 PM
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my social security card is lamenated and hard as a rock
i know they say not to lamenate them.. but mine is and thats how we got it
Old 02-13-08, 07:10 PM
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Can I ask a dumb question? Wouldn't new cards have photos and fingerprints of babies? Would they have to be updated every 10 years like passports?

The article isn't clear - do you get the new card at 15 or is that just for existing cardholders needing to get replacements?

I just wonder how all of that would work...
Old 02-13-08, 07:10 PM
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The proposed cards would feature a photograph and fingerprint, as well as a computer chip, bar code and magnetic strip.
Old 02-13-08, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Draven
Can I ask a dumb question? Wouldn't new cards have photos and fingerprints of babies? Would they have to be updated every 10 years like passports?

The article isn't clear - do you get the new card at 15 or is that just for existing cardholders needing to get replacements?

I just wonder how all of that would work...
Are you guilty of expecting a half assed idea from a politician to be fully thought out.

Even at 15, if you want the photo to be reasonably accurate, you'd periodically have to reissue it. Oh, wait . . . the government could charge a fee for that. What an outstanding idea.
Old 02-13-08, 07:30 PM
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U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), co-sponsor of the bill, said that more than $49 billion a year is lost because of identity theft. According to a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office, employers reported the use of 1.4 million Social Security numbers that don't exist.

The new cards would also enable employers to verify their employees' Social Security numbers more easily, Roskam said.

I wonder...1) how these do anything more to counter identity theft than other current methods and 2) it isn't hard to verify SS numbers now - you already have to show a gov't-issue picture ID with your SS card for employment.
Old 02-13-08, 08:53 PM
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Maybe they should ditch the photo part, and just stick with the magnetic strip and finger print. I don't know what good the computer chip will do.

If they expect people to pay a fee the same way states do for IDs, then forget it. I don't care about my identity that much.
Old 02-14-08, 07:13 AM
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To get your new SS card, all you have to do is show your National ID card.
Old 02-14-08, 09:11 AM
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who uses their SS card anyway?
Old 02-14-08, 10:07 AM
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You dont physically need someones SS card to commit fraud, just their number. I dont see how this would make things safer.
Old 02-14-08, 10:09 AM
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exactly
Old 02-14-08, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Ranger

Photo ID is OK, but not sure about fingerprint. The latter could be pretty expensive, but Disney uses finger print scanners at their parks to match the tickets. So it might be cheaper now.
I'm not sure if the Walt Disney World stuff actually works ... to see if it actually worked, my wife and I would switch our annual passes, put our finger on the "scanner" after using each other's card, and then walk through, no questions asked. The finger print "scanner" never denied us entry ... not once.
Old 02-14-08, 11:08 AM
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How long before you need to show your national ID... I mean, your SS card, to board a plane, etc.?
Old 02-14-08, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kmac2878
I'm not sure if the Walt Disney World stuff actually works ... to see if it actually worked, my wife and I would switch our annual passes, put our finger on the "scanner" after using each other's card, and then walk through, no questions asked. The finger print "scanner" never denied us entry ... not once.
You didn't marry your twin sister did you? I refuse to believe that anything operated by a 16 year old at a theme park is anything less than state of the art.
Old 02-14-08, 01:49 PM
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I wonder if I slide that card into my DirecTv receiver if I will get all the channels?
Old 02-14-08, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ.
I wonder if I slide that card into my DirecTv receiver if I will get all the channels?
For those on welfare, I'm sure this is a feature that is being explored.
Old 02-14-08, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kmac2878
I'm not sure if the Walt Disney World stuff actually works ... to see if it actually worked, my wife and I would switch our annual passes, put our finger on the "scanner" after using each other's card, and then walk through, no questions asked. The finger print "scanner" never denied us entry ... not once.
When I was there the last time (~2005), there were seven of us in my family that went. When we got into the park, we all gave our hopper passes to my mom for safekeeping in her purse. On day two, she randomly passed out the passes for the next park. Concerned about not knowing if I had "my" pass, I asked one of the older entrance guides there about this "safety precaution." He told me it only comes into play when you use the entry passes on the same day to leave and reenter the park or go to another disney park. The system is supposed to catch it when your entry pass is used on the same day by two different people. Of course, we stayed in one park for the entire day and never got to test the system about it.

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