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OPM rule removes Social Security numbers from mailed documents

April 12, 2024

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The Office of Personnel Management issued a final rule Friday that would cull Social Security numbers from any mailed document in an effort to prevent fraud.

The rule, which was published in the Federal Register, is part of the implementation of the 2017 Social Security Number Fraud Prevention Act and is designed to help protect the identifiers, which can be used in various forms of identity theft.

“The theft and fraudulent use of SSNs can result in significant repercussions for the SSN holder, as well as the entities from which SSNs were stolen,” OPM officials said in the Federal Register notice. “This direct final rule formalizes in regulation OPM’s current practice of safeguarding SSNs in mailed documents and will support efforts to protect individual privacy.”

The federal government has been working on reducing the use of SSNs as identifiers since at least 2006, when the Identity Theft Task Force, created by a George W. Bush executive order, called for the Office of Management and Budget and OPM to find ways to eliminate, restrict or conceal SSN use.

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