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October 2
1945 - Cattle-rustling "Phantom of Vasquez Rocks" captured [story]
Phantom suspect


A bipartisan multistate coalition of 43 attorneys general including California’s have sent a letter urging the prioritization of updates to the Social Security Administration’s electronic databases and verification methods, so financial institutions can instantly check for and flag synthetic identity theft.

By statute, the users of the system — namely banks and their service providers — pay fees to cover the cost of developing and operating the system.

Synthetic identity theft occurs when identity thieves use real Social Security numbers, along with fictitious names and birthdates, to manufacture new identities.

Currently, delays in the verification process at the SSA allow thieves an opportunity to use stolen identities before an incident is flagged.

“The Social Security Administration should use every resource available to protect the identity of vulnerable individuals,” said Caliornia Attorney General Becerra.

“It’s time to move the SSA’s verification technologies into the 21st century to keep up with identity thieves who are exploiting our vulnerabilities,” Becerra said. “We urge the SSA to prioritize making its systems as nimble and strong as possible, when the funding is available from banks and others that will use the system, to combat this growing problem.”

In May 2018, Congress passed legislation directing the SSA to develop an electronic database for financial institutions to verify consumers’ information.

The SSA’s current system does not allow these institutions to check identity in real time, giving fraudsters an opportunity to exploit any delay. The thieves target the most vulnerable, particularly children and recent immigrants without credit histories.

This has an ongoing impact on the credit and finances of these individuals who enter the market already hobbled with poor credit and an inaccurate credit history, including fraudulent transactions.

In the letter, the attorneys general advise the SSA to implement electronic signatures, or other verification methods, so that financial institutions can verify identity and flag identity theft in real time to protect these vulnerable groups from severe harm.

The letter to the SSA was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Becerra has made protecting California consumers a top priority. In April 2018, he issued a consumer alert for seniors regarding fraud and identity theft. Californians who believe they are victims of identity theft should visit the Attorney General’s Identity Theft First Aid page and can take steps to limit the damage done by a thief by following the identity theft victim checklist.

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2 Comments

  1. Re: I spent over two hours on hold this morning trying to report Social Security suspected fraud! I called the number to report suspected fraud only to be told to contact another number. They gave me three options: return the award letter to Post Office, which I have done, mail to social security or throw the envelope out! Then I was told a supervisor would call me back before the end of the day today – no call ! No wonder there is soooo much fraud ! The people in charge just keep passing the buck !

  2. S. Miller says:

    This is a must where I come from in Pennsylvania. Identity Theft is a big problem and Law Enforcement is stretched thin from dealing with violent crime. I have experienced this type of crime and it’s implications are far-reaching and very unpleasant. The individual/victim is left to deal with little assistance and big problems.

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