GOP lawmaker backs bill to combat identity theft

GOP lawmaker backs bill to combat identity theft

A House Republican wants to reduce identity theft by keeping Social Security numbers off many federal tax forms.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) has introduced the Taxpayer Identity Protection Act, which would let companies use an alternative to the Social Security number on the W-2 tax form, issued to every employee earning at least $600 a year.

ADVERTISEMENT
“This bipartisan, common-sense measure will protect Americans from identity fraud by limiting the use of Social Security Numbers on the most popular tax forms, including the W-2,” said Buchanan, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, the panel that writes U.S. tax code.

Digital thieves earlier this year accessed the IRS computer network to steal more than 300,000 taxpayer’s returns.

These forms are valuable to fraudsters, since they contain important sensitive information — such as Social Security numbers — that can be used to file future fraudulent returns or commit a number of other types of identity theft.

“We must be doing all we can to end this growing problem, which hits seniors especially hard,” Buchanan added.

According to a Department of Justice report, 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity in 2014.

Buchanan’s state of Florida is hit particularly hard by identity theft, as fraudsters often target senior citizens.