My daughter recently turned 18 and she went down and got a pay by the month Verizon phone. She has not had a problem with it and was wanting to upgrade to a 2 year contract so she could have an iPhone. We figured a valid driver’s license would be sufficient to open an account, after-all it is proof of ID and age, right?
A little backstory on my daughter, Shantel: she has been working at the same place since she was 15, has purchased 3 vehicles with her earnings from said job, she has paid us for her insurance since she was 16, she is paying for the college classes she is taking while still in high school and she is very money savvy.
She goes into the Verizon Wireless authorized retailer in our area and fills out all the required paperwork, after they run the information corporate headquarters (customer service) informs the local dealer that she must send in a copy of her driver’s license and her social security card as proof that she is 18. Well I’m totally old school on social security cards and numbers. I’m highly against them being used as a form of ID. I sent her birth certificate with her as proof of age along with her license. It was rejected by headquarters because it was not the SSN card!
(notice the ‘not for identification’ that use to be printed right on the cards?!)
I went on to the government page on social security and as I already knew that social security numbers were never intended as a means of identity. Here’s the reason it was created:
“The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260]
An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.” (the whole act is there to read, I’m not going to paste it here though.)
Basically it is for the government to know what you have paid into Social Security to provide for you in your old age and to provide for disabled persons. Nowhere does it say this is a form of ID.
Another page on the site states this:
“The use of the Social Security number (SSN) has expanded significantly since its inception in 1936. Created merely to keep track of the earnings history of U.S. workers for Social Security entitlement and benefit computation purposes, it has come to be used as a nearly universal identifier. Assigned at birth, the SSN enables government agencies to identify individuals in their records and businesses to track an individual’s financial information. This article explores the history and meaning of the SSN and the Social Security card, as well as the Social Security Administration’s (SSA‘s) SSN master file, generally known as the Numident. The article also traces the historical expansion of SSN use and the steps SSA has taken to enhance SSN integrity.”
Later in the article is states that the thinking of the citizens has changed and people are not as willing to use the SSN as ID :
“December 2004, IRTPA legislation prohibited states from displaying the SSN on driver’s licenses or motor vehicle registrations. In 2007, the President’s Identity Theft Task Force (2007, 3) included among its SSN recommendations that “federal agencies should reduce the unnecessary use of SSNs, the most valuable commodity for an identity thief.”
On November 18, 2008, President George W. Bush issued EO 13478 rescinding the 1943 EO requiring all federal agencies to use the SSN as an identifier. Then in December, the FTC (2008) issued a plea to companies, schools, and other private entities to find better ways to authenticate identities than using the SSN. State and local entities have begun to delete SSNs on electronic versions of public records. Congress has also considered legislation that would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use an alternative to the SSN as the Medicare claim number. Even SSA, which created the SSN for its program use, has ceased to print the full SSN on some of its correspondence with beneficiaries (Lockhart 2002). The agency now advises individuals to keep their Social Security card in a safe place and not to carry it with them (SSA 2007a).”
After reading these articles on the government’s site I accompanied my daughter back to the local store to try and enlighten Verizon Wireless in these matters. The local guy contacted headquarters and then gave me the phone. I gave the woman on the other end the ‘what-for’ and after informing me that the conversation was being recorded, then said she couldn’t talk to me because I wasn’t the one on the “contract” . I gave the phone to Shantel and she also told them that she would not be providing a copy of her SSN card as it is not a valid form of ID. She then asked to speak to a manager or someone who could actually address the problem. The woman gave her another 800 number to call and talk to them. When she asked to just be transferred, she was told: “I don’t have the authority to transfer you.”
After a few more words with the local guy about the stupidity of this requirement which is only for young adults, we left.
I then went to Verizon Wireless’s FaceBook page and left this:
It’s really quite insane that in order for an 18 yr old to have their own contract you require a faxed copy of a social security card! You do realize that SSN# is not meant for that, right? The purpose of SSN# is for tracking how much you’ve paid into social security, so that you can be properly compensated after your reach the age of retirement. You should check out the government site in reference to social security and see that it is not recommended that places use this number to identify a person as it sets one up for identity theft! The number itself is on the application, to require a physical copy is asinine!
Here is their reply (which I was happy to see they took me semi seriously. I will post the comments as of now):
Verizon Wireless Hi Carrie, I apologize for any frustration with needing to provide the requested information. There is another option available. Please bring the needed information into one of our corporate stores. This way the information can be given without it being faxed in. Here’s a link to our store locator http://bit.ly/3SdsA Ed
Carrie Flynn Keiser The problem is that showing a SSN card in no way proves you are 18. There’s no birthdate on it, no photo of the person. Willingly we provided a drivers license and a birth certificate as proof of age and the SS# was on the application. That should have covered the age issue. Thank you for responding.
amount he needed to make his account current and buy out the contract since he was leaving for 2 years. The amount was paid and the phone given to his grandpa. When grandpa tried to activate the phone, they were told an additional $250 needed to be paid!
Verizon Wireless I can understand your point, Carrie. However, we still use the SSN information as a valid way to verify an account and information. I suggest going to a local store with all that you mentioned such. Presenting the driver’s license can go along with the SSN card that would match the name up and be considered a valid document. Ed
Carrie Flynn Keiser Like I said the number was on the application. The birth certificate is a much more valid form of proving ID. As that is what is required for obtaining a valid drivers license or a passport. No state or government issuing ID requires PRESENTATION of the actual card. It is stated right on the card that it is not to be carried around. After looking at the government website and reading that legislation has been put thru stating states can no loner require the SSN on the licenses, I think you should re-think your ID policies. We also live no where near a corporate store.
I also reposted the original post to my FaceBook page and asked people to like and share it. I went one step farther and created a photo to go along with this post:
— with Shantel Keiser.
I would love for this to be a “wake-up” call for Verizon Wireless, for them to realize that what they are requiring of these young people is a misuse of the SSN card and pretty much not legal. I would love for them to accept a birth certificate and driver’s license as forms of ID that prove age. I would love for them to realize that they are not helping these young adults to grow and become responsible citizens of this country. I want them to realize that if this is their policy then EVERY person wanting to sign a phone contract with them will also have to prove who they are with the same documents, or no dice!
Wake up Verizon Wireless! and any other company that thinks this is an acceptable ….. It’s NOT!
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