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Highlights

The social security number (SSN) has become a widespread means of identification in the United States. As its use as an identifier has grown, so has the opportunity for its misuse, often to fraudulently obtain employment or monetary benefits. GAO reported on whether there is a need for redesigning and reissuing tamper-resistant social security cards to prevent misuse of the card, and the appropriateness of using social security trust funds to pay for such reissuance.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
The Congress should enact legislation similar that proposed, making it a felony to fraudulently obtain or use one or more SSNs or to alter, reproduce, counterfeit, buy, or sell the SSN or card.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to further strengthen the integrity of the SSN system by placing the SSN application forms and cards under tighter controls.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Department of Health and Human Services 2. The Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to further strengthen the integrity of the SSN system by flagging identified fraudulently obtained SSNs currently in the system for SSA and other agency uses.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Department of Health and Human Services 3. The Secretary of HHS should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to further strengthen the integrity of the SSN system by encouraging the states to tighten their controls over vital statistics records since state programs can be adversely affected by SSN misuse.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.
Department of Health and Human Services 4. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to further strengthen the integrity of the SSN system by providing training to social security field office personnel to enable them to more readily detect fraudulent evidentiary documents submitted with SSN applications.
Closed
Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

Full Report