EDD exposed millions of Social Security numbers: CA auditor

California

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The California State Auditor reports about 38 million pieces of mail were delivered this year containing full Social Security Numbers of people claiming unemployment benefits.

The mail sent by the Employment Development Department could end up in the wrong hands and leave claimants at risk of identity theft, the report says.

In fact, the auditor said they saw a “significant amount” of undeliverable mail returned to the EDD, several mail pieces included full SSNs.

The report said in part,

“EDD’s practice of including full SSNs on certain mailed documents has resulted in many individuals’ SSNs being delivered to strangers who may choose to exploit the inappropriate mailings. We inspected a small amount of the returned mail shown in Figure 3 and found multiple examples of mailings containing full SSNs. In one case, an individual had written on the envelope, “this person does not live at this address”—and the envelope contained two of the three highest-volume forms we recommended EDD change, both of which displayed an individual’s full SSN.”

California State Auditor

Auditor Elaine M. Howle included recommendations in her report for EDD to rectify the issue. However, she said it’s taking too long to change.

“Had EDD modified the three highest-volume documents as we recommended, it would have avoided sending full SSNs on nearly 34 million—or close to 90 percent—of the 38 million mailings it sent from March 2020 through mid-October 2020,” Howle’s report said.

The EDD has so far amended two forms to remove the SSNs.

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits this year has hit record high numbers — in the millions — due to the coronavirus pandemic. Just in the last week, the U.S. Department of Labor reports 742,000 new claims were filed.

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