Below the line is a sample letter to email or fax to your member of Congress as soon as possible. It covers two important bills presently pending before the House Ways and Means Committee that will deny access to use of the SSN, thus eliminating credit header information.
Please take a few minutes and send this out as soon as possible - our industry can not let this happen!!! You may locate the contact information for each member of congress by clicking here.
I appreciate your anticipated and immediate attention to this important matter!
Member of Congress
VIA FACSIMILE (or electronic mail)
I am writing to express my concern with HR 948, the “Social Security Number Protection Act” and HR-3046, the “Social Security Number Privacy and Identity Theft Protection Act”.
As a private investigator, I perform many functions of which the public may not be aware. Professional investigators use databases to help us locate individuals for a variety of important purposes. We assist identity theft victims to restore their good names. We use such data to locate witnesses in order to present best evidence at trial, and in fact, have used such data to free innocent individuals falsely convicted! Last year our association brought a man to Washington who had been falsely imprisoned for 20 years until an investigator located a witness who recanted his testimony. In addition, we have used such information to locate deadbeat parents, find heirs and recover stolen funds.
When I’m looking for someone with a common name, the Social Security number is essential for making a correct identification. Imagine looking for John Smith in New York! It is the key element necessary for databases to make accurate identifications.
These bills would prevent licensed investigators from having access to this critical information.
I do agree that Social Security numbers should not be made accessible to everyone. They should not be freely available on the Internet. I also believe that such personal data should only be made available for those with a legitimate need for it. We are asking Congress to provide an exception from the limitation on the use of Social Security numbers for specific purposes as follows:
“to identify or locate missing or abducted persons, witnesses, criminals and fugitives, persons that are or may become parties to litigation, parents delinquent in child support payments, organ and bone marrow donors, pension fund beneficiaries, missing heirs and persons material to due diligence inquiries.”
A similar exception was provided during the Senate Commerce Committee’s consideration of S-1178.
The consequences of passing a ban on the sale of Social Security numbers without such exceptions would be serious. Both bills include an exception for law enforcement, as they should. But as you probably know, the bulk of investigations of fraud are conducted in the private sector. Police agencies simply do not have the necessary resources to do all the required investigations. Absent an exemption for private investigations, the law enforcement exemption would also raise serious due process questions since defense counsel would not have similar access to databases under the bill.
Should you have any questions, please contact me or my association’s Washington Representative Larry Sabbath at 703 426-1976.