School Officials Warn of Identity Theft

In a small Maine town, local school officials buck state requirements and tell parents not to give out their child’s Social Security number.

The Bangor Daily reports “School departments across the state are required by a new state law to collect students’ Social Security numbers for all enrolled this fall. Parents, however, should know that they can decline”. Local school officials, worried about the possibility of identity theft, are encouraging parents not to provide their children’s Social Security numbers to the state so the students can be tracked as they leave school and get jobs.

“We’re required to ask but we’re encouraging parents not to tell,” Superintendent Daniel Lee said on Monday.

The SSNs are supposed to be used for a 12 year study that will track each students and their progress throughout school. This is a perfect example of “functionality creep” of the SSN.  Functionality creep occurs when an item, process, or procedure ends up serving a purpose that it was never intended to perform.  An alternative to relying on SSN to track the students, another identifier could be assigned.

It is precisely this type of expanding use of an individual’s SSN that puts their personal identity at risk. Each child who coughs up their SSN has to worry whether or not someone who has authorized or even unauthorized access to the data base may use that child’s primary identifier to open new credit.

McAfee Identity Protection includes proactive identity surveillance to monitor a child’s identity and access to live fraud resolution agents who can help subscribers work through the process of resolving identity theft issues. For additional tips, please visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing child identity theft on NBC Boston (Disclosures)

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