Commissioner Rebeca Sosa supports legislation to protect children and the general public from identity theft
(MIAMI, FL) - On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, County Commissioners adopted a resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, urging the United States Congress to enact the Social Security Child Protection Act of 2017 and the Social Security Must Avert Identity Loss (MAIL) Act. Identity theft crimes continue to plague the lives of countless Americans every year. Though the issue is widespread, South Florida is particularly affected. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network Report for 2016 cites the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area as ranking second in the country for identity theft complaints per capita.
Furthermore, the tri-county area experienced 13,457 complaints in 2016, behind only the Chicago and Los Angeles Metropolitan Statistical Areas in total cases. While adults have been the traditional target of criminals, children have increasingly become victims of identity theft due to their clean records and the likelihood of their information going unmonitored for a lengthy time. According to a report by the security firm AllClear ID, as much as one in ten children may be a victim of identity theft. The report further noted that children are 35 times more likely than adults to have their information stolen. Making matters worse, the damage is often only discovered after several years when the individual applies for a college loan, a driver’s license, rental housing or their first job.
The Social Security Child Protection Act of 2017 (HR 1512) was filed by United States Representative Kenny Marchant (R-TX). The bill requires the issuance of a new social security number to children under 14 years old, who have had their social security cards stolen after being mailed by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).
“I urge all parents to be very careful with their children’s Social Security Numbers and routinely check their credit information,” said Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. “Criminals always go after our most vulnerable, but if we are proactive, we can do a lot to limit the harm caused by identity theft. The Social Security Child Protection Act of 2017 will help child victims recover from this terrible crime and give them a chance to start adulthood the right way.” The Social Security Must Avert Identity Loss (MAIL) Act (HR 1513), introduced by United States Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX), restricts the inclusion of a full Social Security Account Number in all mail sent by the SSA, except only when deemed necessary by the agency. “So many good, hardworking families fall victim to fraud and identity theft every day,” said Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. “These individuals often experience incredible hardship getting jobs, finding housing and rebuilding their lives. It is my hope that these bills will provide for greater protection of our most sensitive information.” Miami-Dade County
Residents are urged to visit www.miamidade.gov/fraudfree or call 3-1-1 for information on how to protect themselves from identity theft. If you feel you have been a victim, visit www.identitytheft.gov for information on how to report and recover from identity theft. *FTC Consumer Sentinel Network Report 2016: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/consumer-sentinel-network-data-book-january-december-2016/csn_cy-2016_data_book.pdf AllClear ID: https://www.allclearid.com/personal/2012/05/child-id-theft-report-2012/