GAO recommends truncating social security numbers available to information resellers

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report on its recommendations to Congress for creating standards for truncating Social Security Numbers. The report, Social Security Numbers: Internet Resellers Provide Few Full SSNs, but Congress Should Consider Enacting Standards for Truncating SSNs, examines the practices by information resellers that operate on the Internet and whether privacy laws apply to the release of SSNs.

We found 154 Internet information resellers with SSN-related services. Most of these resellers offered a range of personal information, such as dates of birth, drivers’ license information, and telephone records. Many offered this information in packages, such as background checks and criminal checks. Most resellers also frequently identified individuals, businesses, attorneys, and financial institutions as their typical clients, and public or nonpublic sources, or both as their sources of information.

The GAO proposes that the Social Security Administration, or another government agency, issue standards for truncating SSNs.


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