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    Chicago Tribune: US contradicts itself over its own ID theft advice

    The Chicago Tribune has an interesting story, “US contradicts itself over its own ID theft advice.”

    The government doesn’t have to look very far to see who’s ignoring its advice on
    preventing identity theft.

    It’s the government itself.

    The nation’s Medicare agency and the Pentagon want at least 52 million Americans to
    carry their Social Security numbers in their wallets, contrary to warnings by the
    Federal Trade Commission that people should avoid doing so. […]

    The number also appears on 8 million Defense Department identity cards used by
    active duty and reserve forces and their dependents, and on identification cards
    issued to military retirees. […]

    And the Internal Revenue Service still tells taxpayers to write their Social
    Security number on checks used to make payments, a potential problem for those using
    the mail rather than filing electronically.

    These agencies’ practices contradict the President’s Task Force on Identity Theft, which recommends (pdf) “that federal agencies should reduce the unnecessary use of Social Security numbers (SSNs), the most valuable commodity for an identity thief.”

    The Pentagon “plans to remove the numbers but won’t complete the effort until 2014.” Neither Medicare nor the IRS plan to change their practices. I previously blogged about the refusal of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare program cards.

    Read the rest of the Chicago Tribune story here.

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