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DMA Praises FTC's Workshop on Use of Social Security Numbers By Private Sector
Washington, DC, December 11, 2007 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today praised the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for hosting a successful and constructive public workshop on the use of Social Security numbers (SSN) by American businesses. The workshop, entitled “Security in Numbers: SSNs and ID Theft,” explored the uses of SSNs in the private sector and their role in identity theft.
Commenting on the FTC’s public workshop, DMA Executive Vice President for Government Affairs and Corporate Responsibility Steven K. Berry said, “We welcome a productive conversation about the use of Social Security numbers by appropriate, legitimate businesses. The direct marketing community strongly supports efforts to protect consumers against ID theft by limiting the purchase, sale, and display of SSNs to the general public. However, DMA maintains that any state or federal legislation seeking to do so must include a business-to-business exemption. It is this critical use of Social Security numbers by businesses that has helped reduce instances of identity theft and other fraudulent activates within the marketplace.”
On December 10 and 11, 2007, the FTC hosted members of the public sector, private sector, and consumer representatives to discuss the various uses of SSNs by the private sector, the necessity of those uses, alternatives available, and the challenges faced by the private sector without access to SSNs. This two-day workshop built upon the ongoing work of the President’s Identity Theft Task Force, and its recommendation to explore ways to reduce unnecessary uses of SSNs within the private and public sectors.
DMA has been working diligently with House and Senate members as well as with FTC and General Accountability Office (GAO) officials to ensure that any legislation passed by Congress preserves the critical business-to-business uses of SSNs.
DMA has provided specific examples of the responsible use of SSNs, particularly in conjunction with ID-verification products and services offered by DMA service-provider members. These products are, in turn, relied upon heavily by DMA member companies working on the front lines against ID theft.
“ID theft remains a serious concern,” added
The FTC released a survey on November 27 that shows 8.3 million (or 3.7 percent) of all American adults were victims of identity theft in 2005. The FTC conducted a similar telephone survey of consumers in 2003 that found 9.1 million Americans were victims of identity theft. It was the first national survey to measure the prevalence and cost of identity theft. According to DMA, the results of the new survey indicate that, while instances of criminals stealing and using other people’s identities for financial gain remain a serious threat, it is nearly 9 percent less than the 2003 survey.
In June 2006, DMA partnered with the FTC in its "AvoID Theft" campaign. The goal of the campaign is to provide information to consumers on how they can avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, and what to do if they suspect their personal information is being misused.
To help deliver its “AvoID Theft” message, DMA developed a series of template materials for its member companies. These materials include tips for consumers on how to guard against ID theft and recognize when they might be at risk, as well as the appropriate steps to take if they believe they have been victimized.
The “AvoID Theft” campaign is centered on three key actions — how consumers can:
· Deter identity thieves by safeguarding their personal information.
· Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring financial accounts and billing statements.
· Defend against ID theft as soon as a problem is suspected.
Raising public awareness of these three actions — and the steps involved — can make it more difficult for identity thieves to target people. Whether DMA members share this information with 50 people or 50,000, they can make an important difference.
For additional information on the “AvoID Theft” program, please visit www.the-dma.org/idtheft.
To access the FTC’s 108-page report — titled “2006 Identity Theft Survey Report” — visit http://ftc.gov/os/2007/11/SynovateFinalReportIDTheft2006.pdf or simply click here.
About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit organizations using and supporting multichannel direct marketing tools and techniques. DMA advocates standards for responsible marketing, promotes relevance as the key to reaching consumers with desirable offers, and provides cutting-edge research, education, and networking opportunities to improve results throughout the end-to-end direct marketing process. Founded in 1917, DMA today represents nearly 3,600 companies from dozens of vertical industries in the
In 2007, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — are forecast to spend $173.2 billion on direct marketing in the
The Power of Direct: Relevance. Responsibility. Results.
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