The House easily passed a bill Monday that will prohibit the federal government from sending out mail to people with their social security numbers exposed right on the envelope, for the whole world to see.
California Republican Rep. David Valadao was contacted by one of his constituents, who complained that a letter she received from the Social Security Administration had her social security number easily visible, right on the outside of the envelope.
But the concern grew even worse. Valadao said, “Upon further investigation, we found that the Social Security Administration was also printing full social security numbers visible on the outside of postcards.”
“Mr. Speaker, this is totally and completely unacceptable,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said.
Under the new bill, sponsored by Valadao, no federal agency would be permitted to include social security numbers on mail sent out to people unless the agency director says it is necessary.
In addition, the government will be required to write regulations explaining when it is necessary to include social security numbers in mail, but in any case, the numbers must not be on the outside of any mailing.
When common sense isn’t followed, a law has to be created.
Valadao actually introduced the bill, H.R. 3779, the Social Security Fraud Prevention Act of 2015, way back on October 22, 2015. Finally, 11 months later, action has been taken, on something that had strong bipartisan support to begin with.
When he first introduced the bill, Valadao stated, “By reducing the number of mailed documents that contain full Social Security numbers, Congress can lessen the occurrence and mitigate the impacts of identity theft.” He continued, “The fact that this crime affects children, seniors, and veterans makes it even more imperative that the federal government does everything in its power to prevent identity theft.”
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