The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Article: Half of US universities use SSN as student identifier, leaving students vulnerable to ID theft 

According to the September 6, 2004 edition of US News and World Report, American college students are particularly vulnerable to identity theft, primarily because universities and colleges are use social security numbers as student identifiers:

U.S.News & World Report Archive: Lessons in privacy (9/6/04)

"Students may go to college to study, but there's something many don't learn about until it's too late: identity theft. A growing peril in the electronic age, this particular brand of banditry usually entails stealing someone's identity by using his or her personal financial information--name, Social Security number, date of birth, and the like--to apply for new credit cards and loans. The victim isn't accountable for most of the money stolen but still must deal with the major headache of erasing bogus accounts from his credit record and doing battle with collection agencies. According to the Federal Trade Commission, close to 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft last year, a 41 percent increase from 2002.

Financially inexperienced college students are particularly vulnerable. That's because roughly half of all colleges use Social Security numbers as student identifiers, and many post grades by ID number. And it's the Social Security number that unlocks the door to a credit history. "My advice to students is to be aware that you're in a high-risk environment," says Ed Mierzwinski, a consumer advocate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in Washington, D.C. "And be prepared to fight identity theft hard when it hits."

US News won't make the full text available until two weeks after publication, but check back ...

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