TRENTON – Senator Byron M. Baer has introduced legislation which would restrict the use of Social Security numbers for identifying purposes in order to protect against identity theft.
“Most people try hard to physically protect themselves by wearing seat belts, eating healthy eating and exercising regularly,” said Senator Baer, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.
“Unfortunately, New Jersey residents are having a difficult time protecting themselves from a damaging crime– identity theft. Our Social Security numbers are linked to every financial record we have or will have in the future. If our social security number falls in the hands of the wrong person, we could find ourselves in a long, hard battle to repair our financial status.”
The bill, S-2441, would restrict the ways public or private entities could use Social Security numbers. The bill would prohibit assigning an identification number that is identical to or incorporates an individual’s Social Security number. The bill would also outlaw publicly posting a portion of someone’s Social Security number.
Senator Baer noted that, the bill would also ban mailing materials that include Social Security numbers, and restrict the use of Social Security numbers on the Internet.
According to Senator Baer, at this time there is no standard penalty for identity theft, and the Attorney General would assess a punishment after reviewing each offense.
“Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America,” said Senator Baer, D-Bergen. “When dishonest people get hold of your Social Security number, they can use it to get other personal information about you, and ruin you financial life. We need strong laws in order to protect against having our Social Security numbers stolen.”
The bill will be part of a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee to protect the public from identity theft this Spring.