New Law Limits Disclosure of Social Security Numbers to Protect Against Identity Theft

September 5, 2012
Assemblymember Steven Englebright, (D- Setauket), commended Governor Cuomo for signing legislation into law that prohibits any person, business or related entity from requiring a person to disclose their Social Security Number (SSN), unless the disclosure is otherwise required by law or covered under an exemption provided for legitimate reasons. The new law, co-sponsored by Assemblymember Englebright, will also prohibit entities from declining to provide any service based on the refusal by an individual to disclose their SSN.
”Anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable when a business asks for a SSN when it is apparent that they have no valid need for that level of personal information, will appreciate this new law,” Assemblyman Englebright said. “I congratulate Governor Cuomo and the sponsor’s of this bill for understanding this threat and taking action.”
Exceptions exist only if disclosure is required by law or covered under one of several exemptions provided for legitimate uses, including collecting child or spousal support, opening a deposit account, interacting with a law enforcement agency, a credit transaction initiated by the consumer, and tax compliance.
In 2011, identity theft cost Americans over $5 billion. The Federal Trade Commission, the Social Security Administration, the General Accounting Office and other organizations have all acknowledged that easy access to sensitive personal information plays a significant role in identity theft. Despite this awareness, certain entities continue to demand that individuals furnish their SSN even in circumstances where it is not required by law.
For more information, or if you think you have been a victim of identity theft, please contact the United States Department of Justice at: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html or the Federal Trade Commission at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft2012/.