Private Investigators In Virginia

PI Chatter Professional Investigators in Virginia

FTC Realtime, part 2

Posted by Bill on December 10, 2007

The panel started at 1:45 p.m. with an introduction by Valerie Abend, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Compliance Policy, U.S. Department of Treasury.  She explained the many needs and uses of the SSN by the Treasury Department, including the I.R.S.

The following is a summary:

Robert Ryan, VP, TransUnion, talked about TransUnion’s use of the SSN as an identifier in processing of millions of daily information reports received by credit bureaus.   SSN is important to ensure correct application of information.  The SSN is used for unique credit reports for millions of individuals.  The SSN is necessary to identify the credit report.  SSN is important when a person disputes some information in the credit report especially when the information is not accurate.  Use SSN to maintain accuracy of identifying the right person.  TransUnion has to comply with many State and Federal laws that require use of SSN to identify people.

Stan Szwalbnest, JP Morgan Chase said they use SSNs for identifying accounts, identifying individuals, reporting earnings to I.R.S., reporting to law enforcement, help identify business records in disasters and many other ways. 

Roberta Meyer, American Council of Life insurances:  Insurance companies use SSN for identifying life insurance applicants, making reports in compliance with laws.  SSNs are universal, unique and do not change over time.  This helps identify persons for life insurance policies going for many many years.  SSN necessary to accurately identify persons for reports.  There are many, many ways that companies use the SSN to identify people for all kinds of internal/external reports.  Many State and Federal laws require use of SSN for reporting purposes.  Tax departments require earnings report by SSN.  The Bank Secrecy Act and the Patriot Act require specific “know your customer” rules and procedures.  The SSN is vital to this procedure.  Insurance companies have to use SSNs to comply with federal law requirng that companies do not hire employees convicted of fraudulent activities.  Many state laws require use of SSN regarding property transactions, long term care partner programs, which was expanded by recent legislation.  All these situations require use of SSN to identify the person.  SSNs are needed to identify persons for medical records to get correct records.  SSNs are used to administer retirement/benefit plans.  There are many other reasons for using the SSNs legitimate business and consumer purposes.

Robert Townsend, licensed professional investigator over 40 years.  His comments are from his work as a day to day investigator.  SSN should be used under particular circumstances for legitimate reasons.  Why PI get the SSN?  Paid to get and link all information associated with the SSN.  Obtaining and linking SSNs is all done for money. Client paid for background information.  If you prosecute the violators, prosecute the original client paying for the investigation in addition to person illegal obtaining SSN.

Use SSN locate missing children.  SSN is unique personal identifier to distinguished one person from another.  Limit SSN information to licensed PIs with insurance.  PI need to identify the person being investigated.  Special Master System?  If there is a legal case being investigated by attorney or an investigator, he suggests a system where the investigator gets a the equivalent of a civil search warrant.  Judges would review applications for such a civil search warrant to determine if legitimate action.  If litigation goes further and more information is needed to determine assets, relatives, trace funds.  Should have judicial approve of this further investigation.

Michael Lamb, LexisNexis.  Unique identifiers, such as SSNs, are necessary to combat ID theft.  Data thieves have always existed and they steal other peoples identity.  Need to give tools, such as SSN,to combat ID theft.  LN has information needed to assist and help consumers to fight ID theft and get there ID back or keep safe.  Lexis helps firms meet legal obligations under the KYC and other laws.  Assist LE and other police help in crime.

SSN is the unique ID and will never change as person’s address, telephone etc will change.  Use partial SSNs?  Have over 15K variation of Will Johnson in the Lexis database.  Using the SSN last four digits, there are over 4k Will Johnson sharing the same last 4 digits.  If applying for credit or a job, you want data system and information to be accurate.  SSN identifier assists this.  Using partial number make information less accurate possibly.  Taking away full SSN, anti fraud programs will not work as well.  If take away use of full SSN, consumer may be negatively affected in financial and business matters.  SSN used to trace benefits for retirement, recover missing children, assist in crime fighting.  Do you want to have less chance of helping consumers in crime fighting and finding information.

Annie Anton,  Right now personal information about you is being exchanged by many businesses and government agencies including law enforcement.  SSN is defacto National ID number.  Privacy concerns because use SSN as personal identifier and authenticator.  The SSN should not be used as authenticator.  

That’s it for today.

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA


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