At a time when identity theft is on the rise, Congress is pushing to de-emphasize the use of Social Security numbers as a personal identifier, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"Individual Social Security numbers were never intended to be a national ID," Congressman Will Hurd tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.
Any number of federal agencies uses the nine digit number when people ask for help, which means there are many databases that, in the hands of the bad guys, could lead to massive fraud.
There has been a push since 2007 to upgrade aging systems, but that's been slow, and has been in a thorn in the side of Hurd (R-TX), who is a former agent with the CIA.
"We need to be thinking about ways that we can identify people in order to get government services that doesn’t introduce this privacy concern," he explains.
The hang-up? The federal government’s aging IT infrastructure. Some systems, which citizens depend on for integral services, are decades old, Hurd says. One agency that has begun to shift is the Health and Human Services Department.
This week, Medicare recipients are getting new ID cards with something other than their Social Security Number.
"Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of seniors," The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement. "People age 65 or older are increasingly the victims of this type of crime.
Incidents among seniors increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014, according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice."