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May 14, 2010
The Honorable Michael A Arcuri
U.S. House of Representatives
127 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
 
Dear Representative Arcuri:
 
On behalf of our more than 400,000 senior-citizen supporters across America, RetireSafe is pleased to endorse H.R. 2417, the Identity Protection Act, which you have authored. H.R. 2417 addresses an obvious need. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nearly 9 million Americans’ identities are stolen every year.  This statistic especially concerns RetireSafe since many of the targets of identity theft are older Americans.  Despite this obvious threat, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) still prints Social Security numbers on Medicare beneficiary cards.  As you have noted, this is particularly troubling because seniors are all instructed to carry their Medicare card with them, increasing the likelihood for accidental loss, theft, or visual exposure. We fully agree that this threat can and should be addressed by the provisions of your legislation, H.R. 2417, and we urge your House colleagues to support it.
 
The continued display of Social Security numbers on government-issued identification cards unnecessarily places millions of individuals at risk for identity theft.  That fact cannot be disputed. The Veterans Administration, many state agencies, and most private insurance companies no longer use Social Security numbers as identifiers. CMS should follow suit, foregoing convenience to protect the security of its beneficiaries’ personal data.
 
It its quest to protect seniors, RetireSafe is proud to offer its strong support for H.R. 2417, the Identity Protection Act as cosponsored by you and a number of your fellow Representatives.  This bill would help protect millions of Americans’ identities by requiring CMS to stop the use of Social Security account numbers on identification cards issued in connection with benefits under the Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  As more scams against older Americans are identified every day it is important that our own government does not encourage or enable identity theft through its actions.  Thank you for standing up for seniors and introducing this important common-sense precaution to prevent identity theft.
 
Sincerely,
Thair Phillips
President
 
1616 H Street, NW, Suite 902, Washington, DC20006
www.retiresafe.org
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