SS number still OK for drivers’ licenses

SS number still OK for drivers' licenses by Andrea Skalland Citizens will continue to have a choice about what number they want on their driver�s license.

The House Transportation Committee killed a bill Feb. 8 that would have prohibited the use of a person�s Social Security number as a driver�s license identification number.

Sen. Cheryl Madden, R-Rapid City, introduced SB 81 saying that it was a crime prevention bill.

According to Madden, identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. She said once a thief gets hold of a person�s Social Security number, that person can open new accounts or lines of credit.

Madden said that currently, seven states require that the social security number be used, 22 states use a different number and 22 states, including South Dakota, give a choice.

She said that the Social Security number was devised to keep an accurate record of an individual�s earnings.

Madden said that when a person writes a check and shows identification, that gives the clerk the name and Social Security number of that person. Now all the clerk has to do is go to the clerk of courts and find the person�s birth certificate, get their mother�s maiden name and then the clerk can get a credit card in that person�s name.

�People don�t understand what�s happening and how easy it is,� Madden said.

Cindy Gerber of the Department of Commerce and Driver�s Licensing said that no one is required to use their Social Security number. In fact, she said that as of March 1998, a person has to request that their social security number be used.

Gerber said that since the change last year, 64 percent of people request that their social security number be used.

The committee killed the bill with a vote of 8-5.�

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