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December 11, 2018
Steve Marshall
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Attorney General Steve Marshall Joins 42 Attorneys General in Calling on
Social Security Administration to Curb
Synthetic Identity Theft
(MONTGOMERY) – Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall joined 42 other attorneys
general in urging the Social Security Administration to implement stronger procedures to
combat the growing problem of identity fraud including synthetic identity theft.
“Consumers in our respective jurisdictions continue to contact us about the growing problem of
identity fraud,” Attorney General Marshall and the other attorneys general wrote in their joint
letter to Acting Social Security Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill on Monday. “The fraud
comes in various forms and causes various harms, including monetary loss, damage to credit
score, and detriment to personal security. As both law enforcement officials and advisors to
government agencies, we know the challenges of keeping government systems a step ahead of
fraudulent actors. Although the challenge may be great, we urge you to prioritize making your
systems as nimble and strong as possible to combat this growing problem.”
Congress passed legislation this year directing the Social Security Administration to develop an
electronic database to facilitate the verification of a consumer’s information when requested by
a certified financial institution with the person’s consent. Previously, such verifications were
done by paper. The new federal mandate is meant to address “synthetic identity theft” in which
fraudsters use real social security numbers along with fictitious names and birthdates to create
“synthetic” identities.
The attorneys general asked Acting Social Security Commissioner Berryhill to promptly comply
with the provisions of the law. “As enforcers of the data breach laws in our jurisdictions, we see
the impact that exposure of Social Security Numbers can have. Our residents lose thousands of
dollars each year from ruined credit scores, as well as a general sense of anxiety regarding their
Synthetic identity theft, which is reported to constitute the majority of identity fraud in the
country, often targets those with newly-issued Social Security numbers, including children and
recent immigrants.
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
www.ago.alabama.gov Page 2 of 2

The AG letter was co-led by attorneys general of Kansas and Oregon and joined by Attorney
General Marshall along with the attorneys general of Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio,
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont,
Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Link to the AG Coalition’s Letter