Let’s get right to it. Congress is attempting to take away the tools of our trade. Private investigators want to stop the fraudsters but it’s counter productive to restrict private investigators, judgment collectors and process servers from accessing social security numbers to locate people and verify identities.
Congress has reintroduced legislation that private investigators fought last year but has come back in the form of The Social Security Number Protection Act of 2007, HR 948, which would prevent obtaining or providing “directly or indirectly, anything of value in exchange for a social security number” and the similar, Senate bill S. 238. As currently worded, there is no exception for private investigators.
So, if you pay for a database service that matches your subject’s name with a social security number you’ve just violated this proposed law. How are we to locate witnesses for court, reunite separated families and perform background searches? Don’t let this bill become law. Join NCISS and associations actively opposing it. Meet with the folks who represent you in Congress. Let them know private investigators aren’t “buying” social security numbers but we use SSNs for valid legal and business purposes.
As currently worded, Preventing Harassment through Outbound Number Enforcement (PHONE) Act of 2007, commonly known as caller-id spoofing, restricts the transmission of one person’s phone number to a third party in an attempt to disguise the caller’s identity. I guess as long as the caller doesn’t “spoof” the recipient with an actual person’s telephone number then they would be within the bounds of this law. It’s still a badly constructed piece of legislation. And, as with every other wave of the wand from Congress, add the law enforcement exception. Are you scared yet?