Time to Toss Social Security Numbers

April 27, 2018

Experts routinely warn the public not to share their Social Security numbers. Yet whether it’s to apply for a loan, visit a doctor, or rent an apartment, consumers routinely turn them over to authenticate their identities. Social Security numbers are thus stockpiled in insecure databases that are ripe targets for hackers and identity thieves. As ITIF’s Daniel Castro writes for the Washington Post’s annual “Spring Cleaning” feature, it’s time to put Social Security numbers in a lockbox and throw away the key. Congress should put an end to this by banning the use of Social Security numbers for identification and expanding the use of secure electronic IDs under the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.