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Write governor to protect your social security number from fraud

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on May 14, 2004:

Senator Dyson The American Council of Life Insurers based in Washington, D.C., has informed me that they are strongly lobbying Governor Ehrlich to kill Senate Bill 117 -- a consumer protection bill that was supported among others by the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, the AARP, the Business and Professional Women and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office.

My bill would prohibit a person or company from publicly posting or displaying an individual's Social Security number or from printing an individual's Social Security number on specified cards under most circumstances.

Just recently, I received three offers from major credit card companies. One was from an airline which obviously got my home address and other information because I recently took a flight with them. Each of the credit card companies asked for my social security number. I didn’t apply because once that application left the post office, who knew how many people would have access to my social security number and other personal information.

Social Security numbers are vital to every American and they should not be exposed for the public’s consumption. Social Security numbers are being used every day by people committing identity theft. Identity theft is literally ruining people’s lives. It is a major problem and this bill goes a long way towards addressing that situation.

Maryland and nearby Washington, D.C., have significant identify theft problems. Maryland is one of five states where the Federal Trade Commission ranks the per capita incidence of identity theft at greater than 30 cases per 100,000 residents.

All types of people are being victimized every day from young people getting their first credit cards to the elderly. This affects every citizen in not just Maryland, but in this country.

Senate Bill 117 will go a long way toward preventing identity theft.

Big time insurance lobbyists from Washington should not be stepping in the way of this important piece of legislation. According to a letter sent to me by the American Council of Life Insurers they inform me they are against this bill because, “unfortunately, the legislation as passed will cause hardships for our member companies.”

Because the ACLI is being “inconvenienced,” they are working against this bill.

While ACLI is “inconvenienced,” other major companies including my health carrier have already responsibly changed their position and have taken social security numbers off the cards they issue their customers. I applaud their efforts. Some of the business organizations that supported my bills included Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield, AFLAC, the Maryland Retailers, the Maryland Bankers Association and T. Rowe Price. Only two companies testified against this bill -- ACLI was one of them.

Because of this interference by ACLI, I am urging all who want their identities protected to contact Governor Ehrlich and ask him to sign Senate Bill 117. Governor Ehrlich can be reached at 100 State Circle; State House; Annapolis, MD 21401.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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