Rep. Peters Votes to Protect Seniors from Identity Theft
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) voted to pass the Social Security Must Avert Identity Loss (MAIL) Act, which would require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure documents sent by mail do not include a complete Social Security account number (SSN), unless deemed necessary by the Commissioner of Social Security.
“Identity theft is one of the costliest crimes to consumers and businesses, and the fastest growing financial crime in the nation,” said Rep. Peters. “Americans are rightly concerned about the risks of identity theft—especially seniors, who are among the most vulnerable to scams and fraud.”
Last year, the Social Security Administration sent out an estimated 233 million documents containing full social security numbers and over half of those letters are sent to inaccurate mailing addresses. While the SSA has taken steps to improve the accuracy of its address records, the MAIL Act would remove the risk of a full social security number being sent out and speed up the timeline for complete removal from all mailings. The SSA would also be required to report to Congress on the progress of removal every two years.
“I’ve heard from seniors across San Diego that identity theft is one of their main concerns,” said Rep. Peters. “Our office has taken steps to address this by offering free workshops to give seniors the tools they need to protect themselves, but I know San Diego seniors will also be happy to see Congress taking bipartisan action as well.”
This year, Rep. Peters’ office held six Senior Scam Workshops in San Diego with the California Contractors State License Board to give seniors the tools to protect themselves from fraud.
Last year, Rep. Peters supported a bill requiring the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove social security numbers from Medicare cards and followed up with a letter asking for a progress report on implementation.