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H.R. 5192: Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 5192 in the House.

H.R. 5192 attempts to reduce synthetic ID fraud by requiring the Social Security Administration (SSA) to match the name, Social Security number (SSN), and date of birth submitted by permitted entities against the SSA’s records.  The bill seeks to protect individuals, firms, and the economy by allowing financial institutions to verify the accuracy of their customers’ personal identity information, in order to guard against the establishment of synthetic identities based on a valid SSN and a false name.

Studies show that children’s identities are stolen about 50 times more frequently than that of adults. That information is utilized by identity thieves to apply for loans, utility accounts, property accounts, driver’s licenses, and vehicle registration. The long-term consequences can leave children and families burdened with unintended debt and flawed credit history.

The Government Accountability Office describes synthetic identity fraud (SIF) as involving “… the creation of a fictitious identity typically by using a combination of real data from multiple individuals and fabricated information.” To carry out financial fraud, the fictitious identity and associated credit file is leveraged over time to build positive history that allows the fraudster to ultimately apply for and obtain new credit. Synthetic identity fraud accounts for 80% of all credit card fraud losses. This particular identity fraud often preys on variable populations, usually children and immigrants, who are more likely to be victims given their little or non-existent credit histories.

Because the SSA is the agency which issues SSNs to individuals and maintains these records, it is in a unique position to help guard against the growing problem of synthetic identity fraud.  The Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act will facilitate the verification of the name-SSN matches against this authoritative source, with the individual’s consent, and thus will help combat synthetic identity fraud.  The SSA’s current Consent Based SSN verification system is not useful for many types of financial transactions because it requires consent in the form of a wet signature.  By requiring the SSA to accept electronic consent, with appropriate safeguards, the legislation allows access for entities that conduct business online and electronically, thus protecting SSNs more widely.

The legislation does not interfere with the SSA’s ability to conduct it’s primary mission.  Users of the verification system are required under the legislation to pay for all start-up and ongoing costs, including all direct and indirect costs, through fees as determined by the Commissioner. Development of the system may not begin until at least fifty percent of all projected start-up costs have been collected via fees.  If additional funds are necessary to develop the system, the Commissioner may temporarily draw on funds from the SSA’s Limitation on Administrative Expenses account designated for information technology modernization; however these expenditures shall be fully reimbursed via fees.

In the 115th Congress, the text of this bill was included in the Senate passed “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” (S.2155) by a vote of 67-31, on March 14, 2018.  The bill was ordered favorably reported by the Committee on Ways and Means by a roll call vote of 38-0 on April 11, 2018.

Source: Republican Policy Committee

Totals

All Votes R D
Yea 98%
 
 
420
230
 
190
 
Nay 0%
 
 
1
1
 
0
 
Not Voting 2%
 
 
8
5
 
3
 

Date: Apr 17, 2018

Question: On Passage of the Bill in the House

Required: Simple Majority

Result: Passed

Source: house.gov

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