Ozarks Woman Gets Letter From Bank with Social Security Number on Envelope

Joanna Small of WSBT reports that a lien release mailed to a customer by Commerce Bank included the customer’s social security number on the envelope, right under the customer’s name:

[…]

We talked to a Commerce Bank spokesperson Saturday evening.

She says the bank will immediately look into the Martin’s situation and have an explanation when they are back in the office Tuesday after Monday’s federal holiday.

One other fast fact about privacy: in Missouri your driver’s license number was your social security number until that policy changed in 2005.

Wow. That system sounds like a gold mine for potential ID thieves. You’d have name, address, date of birth and SSN all on a piece of paper carried in wallets.

According to the Sentinel/FTC consumer fraud report for 2009, the last year for which data are currently available, Missouri ranked 13th in per capita rate of fraud and other complaints, and 32nd in complaints of ID theft. In 2004, when SSN were still used on driver’s licenses, Missouri ranked 18th in ID theft.

Interestingly, the reporter also notes exposure issues in another setting – police scanners:

Despite the nationwide push to protect your privacy one in every 20 Americans is a victim of identity theft every year. A quick listen of the police scanners inside our newsroom and you’ll catch license plate numbers, names, addresses, and dates of birth.

Officers are supposed to switch to scrambled channel three when transmitting socials, but admit that doesn’t always happen.

About the author: Dissent