• iAmTheTot@kbin.social
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    4 months ago

    Why exactly did a telecom company need SSNs anyway?

    Edited to add, this was a rhetorical question and more a comment on the awful series of systems in the USA that leads a SSN to be used by telecom companies.

    • halcyoncmdr@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      Credit checks.

      Nowadays they offer financing for devices. But even in the past it was required. They would determine the maximum number of lines you had available, and if there were any deposits to open new lines of service. Even before phone financing, those phone contracts came with hundreds of dollars of phone discounts at time of purchase and had hundreds of dollars worth of early termination fees and they want to make sure their customers had a good chance of paying if they left.

    • prayer@sh.itjust.works
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      4 months ago

      Most people get suckered into signing a contract and using a “postpaid” plan, where you get the service for a month and then pay for it. That requires a credit check and credit reporting, since you get the service before payment. You don’t have to give out your SSN if you sign up for “prepaid” cell phone plans, which offer less discounts and benefits but are generally cheaper for the service they provide. The only catch is you pay for the month before you use it, but this makes canceling as easy as stopping payment.

      • xthexder@l.sw0.com
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        4 months ago

        I’m on a prepaid plan, and got in on a really good deal. They were offering $25/month off indefinitely for signing up for auto-pay (Basically 35% off, lol). It made the plan cheaper and better than most of their monthly plans. I’m happy to know it also saved me from giving out my SSN.

        • prayer@sh.itjust.works
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          4 months ago

          The main carriers offer prepaid plans, and there is no postpaid plan that doesn’t throttle speeds after you go over a certain amount when the towers a busy.

          • Dupree878@lemmy.world
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            4 months ago

            The MVNOs throttle and deprioritise in high traffic times too.

            Also, throttling at 30GB is a lot Different than at 300GB which is what I went from on Visible to Verizon (visible is Verizon’s prepaid service, and it still worked like an MVNO by slowing down during the day and rush hour while Verizon clicked along streaming 4K)

    • fluckx@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      I think it’s related maybe to some anti terrorism law? In certain EU countries for example it’s impossible to get an anonymous SIM due to some anti terrorism legislation. SSNs are the only legal identification I guess?

      This is a random guess off the top of my head. IANAL or know anything specific on US law.

      • Specal@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        But there’s no need to store them in what I assume to be plain text, this is negligence

        • FauxPseudo @lemmy.world
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          4 months ago

          I don’t remember that being part of the question I was answering. The question was why, not how. So the “But” seems confrontational in this context.

          Is it dumb that they might have been in plain text or something close enough to it that it didn’t matter: of course. But that wasn’t the question.

            • FauxPseudo @lemmy.world
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              4 months ago

              That’s fine. In the future I’d start with “Also” instead of “But.” It completely changes the tone.

              • candybrie@lemmy.world
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                4 months ago

                “Also” doesn’t make sense in context.

                I think this miscommunication is more on you for taking it as an attack towards yourself when it was pretty clearly suspicious towards at&t, not you. In the future, I suggest trying to read things as charitably as possible. It will make forums a much more pleasant place if you don’t immediately assume aggression based on pretty innocuous words.

                • FauxPseudo @lemmy.world
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                  4 months ago

                  I didn’t see it as an attack. I saw it as very poor communication. “Also” would have worked way better as it would have been a “yes, and” instead of a literal “but.” I’m all about charitable readings. That’s why I didn’t attack them but pointed out their choice in wording. It was, as pointed out, snarky, not defensive.

  • Melkath@kbin.social
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    4 months ago

    I have been informed my SSN, DOB, and payment information have been “compromised” at least 50 times in my life.

  • Tire@lemmy.ml
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    4 months ago

    Fight Club had it backwards. Instead of attacking the banks to wipe out people’s credit someone should release everyone’s SSN. The mass fraud will make credit useless.

  • friend_of_satan@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    It’s almost like the gov should replace the SSN system with something that addresses modern security concerns.

    • halcyoncmdr@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      Social Security Numbers were never meant to be used for anything other than Social Security itself. Credit agencies use the SSN because they view it as an easy identifier and they didn’t have to create anything themselves.

      • edric@lemm.ee
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        4 months ago

        It’s ridiculous how something that is supposed to be very confidential and kept private is asked everywhere you need services.

        • PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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          4 months ago

          It was never supposed to be confidential. That need arose as a direct result of using it as an ID. If the SSA was the only organization using the number, (as originally intended,) then it wouldn’t need to be kept confidential.

          But when the SSA gave every single person a unique number, other organizations went “hmm this sure would be convenient for differentiating individuals with similar names and DOBs.” So other organizations started using it for identification, and suddenly you needed to keep the number secret because anyone with your number could ID themselves as you.

          The SSA needs to publish a public database of every single name, DOB, and SSN. Force organizations to figure out a new system of identification, instead of relying on an insecure and outdated system.

  • penquin@lemm.ee
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    4 months ago

    Tried to delete my shit from their website, but they make it impossible to do so. I tried for about 20 minutes then eventually the site straight up refused to let me continue. I don’t even have AT&T anymore, I had their cellular back in 2013 and left them then, but the fuckers kept my info in their system this whole fucking time. No accountability for big corporations when they fuck up big like this. If it were one of us peasants, we would have been in prison for life.

      • penquin@lemm.ee
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        4 months ago

        And that’s a huge problem. Only form of protection I have is freezing my credit with the three credit reporting assholes. I know it’s not much, but at least no one can apply for shit with my social.

        • Possibly linux@lemmy.zip
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          4 months ago

          It actually gives you quite a bit of protection. If you don’t have a open credit they can’t open cards in your name.

          Just remember it is frozen

          • penquin@lemm.ee
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            4 months ago

            I do have 5 cards already, two cars and a mortgage. I just hope that whomever they call will ask for more info beside only the SSN. I have some companies nowadays like Amazon send me a text message for verification.

  • PM_Your_Nudes_Please@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    The SSA should just set a time limit, (let’s say 3 years,) and then publish a database of every single name, DOB, and SSN. Force the banks to figure out a new system of identification, by making the current system useless.

    The current system is already insecure; SSNs were never intended to be secure. So why has the SSA tolerated this for so long? Just make the “in three years we’ll publish this live database for anyone to search” announcement, so banks are forced to develop a better system. It gives them the time to work on a new system, eliminates the need to keep SSNs secret, and the SSA can keep operating as normal.

    • Tak@lemmy.ml
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      4 months ago

      Really the US needs federal ID that are free and accessible through all post offices. The use of birth certificates and SSNs for the private sector is a failure of the federal government.

      Identification for some reason is a cobbled-together mess of systems never designed for identification.

    • graymess@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      This is one of those ideas I’d love to agree with, but I know the reality of the situation would mean negative consequences for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, just like how current ID systems are now.

    • Syn_Attck@lemmy.today
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      4 months ago

      Granted: needs an implanted microchip connected via Bluetooth to a phone app to work properly.

  • The Doctor@beehaw.org
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    4 months ago

    I have so much “free credit monitoring” from data breaches, I could leave it to my grandkids and they’d be set for life.

  • onlinepersona@programming.dev
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    4 months ago

    I keep reading “social security number”, but still don’t understand why it’s possible to steal a person’s identity with their SSN. Is that all that’s required for identification? Some number?

    • M. Orange@beehaw.org
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      4 months ago

      Basically. It wasn’t meant to act as an identification, but people kept using it that way (probably because every citizen gets one at birth, so it’s the easiest proof of citizenship).

      • Syn_Attck@lemmy.today
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        4 months ago

        State-assigned unchangeable passwords that you hand out to 20-100 companies throughout your life (every job, every loan, every credit card, every financial account, every background check, every…)

        This was 70 million people in 1 breach.

        Keep in mind there are only 340 million people in the US, many of which are under 18.

        We need a better system.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Personnel_Management_data_breach

        The Office of Personnel Management data breach was a 2015 data breach targeting Standard Form 86 (SF-86) U.S. government security clearance records retained by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM). One of the largest breaches of government data in U.S. history, the attack was carried out by an advanced persistent threat based in China, widely believed to be the Jiangsu State Security Department, a subsidiary of the Government of China’s Ministry of State Security spy agency.

        In June 2015, OPM announced that it had been the target of a data breach targeting personnel records.[1] Approximately 22.1 million records were affected, including records related to government employees, other people who had undergone background checks, and their friends and family.[2][3] One of the largest breaches of government data in U.S. history,[1] information that was obtained and exfiltrated in the breach[4] included personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers,[5] as well as names, dates and places of birth, and addresses.[6] State-sponsored hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government carried out the attack.[4][7]

        The data breach consisted of two separate, but linked, attacks.[8] It is unclear when the first attack occurred but the second attack happened on May 7, 2014, when attackers posed as an employee of KeyPoint Government Solutions, a subcontracting company. The first attack was discovered March 20, 2014, but the second attack was not discovered until April 15, 2015.[8] In the aftermath of the event, Katherine Archuleta, the director of OPM, and the CIO, Donna Seymour, resigned.[9]

    • Aquila@sh.itjust.works
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      4 months ago

      Getting names, emails, addresses, etc is pretty available. If you can link those up + an SSN you can open accounts pretty easily

  • ares35@kbin.social
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    4 months ago

    and this is why i refused to give you my social back when i lived in your service area and had a land line installed.

  • Franklin@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    Is there any way we could do some sort of certificate based authentication? Instead of a social security number. I know people get really dodgy whenever you talk about ways to identify them but there has to be a better way than this.

    Identity fraud can ruin your life permanently and at this point I’m pretty sure more people have been compromised than haven’t.

      • rdyoung@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        Something like a ssh key or what they are now calling passkeys could work. The question is then who holds the verification database and how do individuals (especially those who can’t turn on their pc) keep their part of the key safe and do we also have some other kind of verification questions like we do now to make sure that it’s the right person when so many small details are shared or similar across people.

          • rdyoung@lemmy.world
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            4 months ago

            I know. But we need a system better than what we have. Or a modification of the current system to make it a bit tougher for people to use someone else’s credit. I have a few ideas but they would only work for those of us who can handle the idea of ssh keys, crypto, etc. The average idiot isn’t going to be able to keep easy access to the data they need to prove they are who they say they are. And I’m definitely against going with DNA, fingerprints, facial rec, etc because of where that leads.

            As it stands, way more kids than you may expect grow up to find their credit completely fucked because their parents are assholes. Anyone close enough to you can probably answer most of the questions about where you lived, what car you owned, etc. We need a drastically different system if we want to minimize identity theft but as I said above, the average person can’t handle the ways to do it right.

            In theory it could be based on cryptos open ledger but with encryption instead of being open to the public, accessible only when the person holding the private key unlocks it in conjunction with the public key. Data stored and accessed in a DB that can be hosted anywhere and isn’t under the control of any one organization or agency.

    • whotookkarl@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      SSNs are not secure and were never intended to be used that way. Just because companies misuse it for security to cut costs and apply credit ratings we never voted for doesn’t mean we should necessarily punish someone for leaking that data that is already like 99% public data because of all the previous leaks. It would be better if everyone treated it as public data and not some secret identity key. They should be punished for poor security and fix their shit, but SSNs are not private, not intended to be used for identity, and not secure.

  • umbrella@lemmy.ml
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    4 months ago

    whoopsie doopsie!

    ssns are probably useless by this point. cant wait for these people to leak our biometric data next, so we cant even change our ‘passwords’ anymore.