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One In Seven Social Security Numbers Are Shared

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More than 20 million Americans have multiple Social Security numbers (SSNs) associated with their name in commercial records according to a new study announced in December from ID Analytics, Inc. The study found that rather than serving as a unique identifier, more than 40 million SSNs are associated with multiple people.

6.1 percent of Americans have at least two SSNs associated with their name.  More than 100,000 Americans have five or more SSNs associated with their name.

Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer, at ID Analytics said. “Most of these cases of duplication are likely due to simple data entry errors as opposed to deliberate falsification. Nevertheless, organizations expose themselves and their customers to risk if they solely rely on the SSN to verify an individual.”

ID Analytics analyzed 290 million Social Security numbers, and found that 1 in 7 are associated with more than one name. Anywhere from 3-4 million names are directly used to commit fraud.

MSNBC reported the same study showed 140,000 SSNs are connected to 5 or more people and 27,000 SSNs are connected to 10 or more people.

Some of these secondary SSNs are the result of typos where an administrator may incorrectly enter a digit and then that secondary SSN is now connected to a person’s credit going forward.

In other cases it is deliberate fraud. When the same person is shown using multiple Social Security numbers on purpose then a flag is raised.

Consumers often find out their SSN is compromised as a result of being denied credit or when bill collectors call them for non payment.

Identity theft can happen to anyone. McAfee Identity Protection, offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. McAfee Identity Protection puts victims first and provides live access to fraud resolution agents who work with the victim to help restore their identity even from past theft events. For additional tips, please visit http://www.counteridentitytheft.com.

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing how to protect yourself from identity theft on CounterIdentityTheft.com. (Disclosures)

About the Author
ROBERT SICILIANO, CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com is fiercely committed to informing, educating, and empowering Americans so they can be protected from violence and crime in the physical and virtual worlds. His "tell it like it is" style is sought after by major media outlets, executives in the C-Suite of leading corporations, meeting planners, and community leaders to get the straight talk they need to stay safe in a world in which physical and virtual crime is commonplace. Siciliano is accessible, real, professional, and ready to weigh in and comment at a moment's notice on breaking news.

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One Response to “One In Seven Social Security Numbers Are Shared”

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Robert Siciliano, Sonya SmithValentine. Sonya SmithValentine said: RT @RobertSiciliano: One In Seven Social Security Numbers Are Shared http://ow.ly/3Zmmx Robert Siciliano, @McAfee Identity Protection […]

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