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CU supports federal bill to remove the SSN from newly issued Medicare cards

This legislation is a strong first step in protecting America's seniors from identity theft.

May 30, 2008

The Honorable Sherrod Brown
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Brown,

Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports,® is pleased to offer our strong support for S.2908, the Medicare Card Security Act of 2008. By ensuring that Social Security Numbers are not displayed on newly issued Medicare cards, your legislation is a strong first step in protecting America’s seniors from identity theft.

Social Security account numbers provide the key to consumers’ financial identities. These numbers are commonly used by businesses to both identify a person and authenticate the identity of individuals (determine that the customer is the person he or she claims to be). The widespread reliance on the SSN for these purposes has made it a valuable target for identity thieves. According to the Government Accountability Office, “SSNs are a key piece of information used to create false identities for financial misuse or to assume another individual’s identity.”

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