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Protecting Social Security numbers

A Social Security number is a person's most unique means of identification because it never changes. Unlike other identifying information, an SSN has a significant role in linking records that contain sensitive information that needs to remain confidential. This unique factor is what makes an SSN so valuable to those who commit identity theft. Both the broad use of this identifier and its value has contributed to the growth of identity theft and credit fraud.

Your Responsibility. . .
The Oregon Identity Theft Protection Act prohibits anyone (individual, private or public corporation, or business) who maintains Social Security numbers from

  • Printing a consumer's SSN on any mailed materials not requested by the consumer unless redacted

  • Printing a consumer's SSN on a card used by the consumer that is required to access products or services

  • Publicly posting or displaying a consumer's SSN, such as on a website

Exceptions include requirements by state or federal laws, including statute, such as W2s, W4s, 1099s, etc., records that are required by law to be made available to the public, for use for internal verification or administrative processes, or for enforcing a judgment or court order.

Other exceptions include:

  • Rules adopted by the courts
  • Copies of records possessed by a court, the State Court Administrator or the Secretary of State

If you use SSNs as an account identifier, you should use another means, such as an alternate number, to identify your customers' accounts.