Identifier or Authenticator? The Social Security number is now both
When the Social Security program was introduced, and for many years thereafter, the Social Security Number (SSN) was a reasonably secure method of identifying participants in the program both for providing benefits and recording payroll contributions. The problem is that the SSN has become not only a means to identify program participants, but also a method of authenticating that you are who you say you are as a consumer. Myriad healthcare providers, utilities, and financial institutions use the SSN as a convenient way for you to prove that you are, in fact, you. But, it’s time to stop! This article by Eric Reed appears at The Street and explains that using the SSN to authenticate consumers trades convenience for enormous risk and it’s time for it to go. Click here to read more.