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Sinema Takes on Federal Bureaucracy, Seeks Changes for Arizona Fraud Victims

Congresswoman seeks changes at agency to address years of challenges faced by Peoria family, many others

In May, Sinema helped pass a law to crack down on ID theft targeting children

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) recently took action for families affected by financial fraud, strongly urging the Social Security Administration (SSA) to change its policies and procedures to better support fraud victims. This action follows a Sinema-backed bill, passed and signed into law in May, that protects Arizona kids from identity theft.

Arizona children are increasingly becoming targets for financial fraud, and federal bureaucracy is standing in the way of Arizona families’ ability to recover and return to normal life. Sinema’s inquiry requested more information from SSA on how the agency handled the case of Jill Carlon, a Peoria mom whose daughter’s Social Security number was stolen to commit financial fraud. After discovering the theft, Jill spent years jumping through SSA’s hoops to change her daughter’s Social Security number and protect her from scammers. At one point, Jill even went so far as to change her daughter’s name at the behest of SSA. From Jill’s perspective, SSA seemed unwilling or unable to prioritize Jill’s daughter’s problem throughout the process.

“Arizona families shouldn’t worry about their children being victims of identity theft -- and if they are, they need someone on their side, ready and willing to fix what’s broken and make things right,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “We worked across the aisle to pass a law that protects our kids from scammers, and Jill Carlon’s story shows us we also need solutions for families who have already been victimized. I’m committed to holding the Social Security Administration accountable until the agency makes the necessary changes to protect Arizona families.”

Sinema urged SSA to evaluate Jill’s experience and determine what changes the agency needs to make to address the needs of fraud victims, including policies that would allow victims to change their Social Security number in a matter of days rather than years. The Congresswoman also asked for specific plans to address the changes SSA anticipates making and a timeline for action so that she can hold the agency accountable.

Sinema introduced the Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act with Congressman Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) earlier this year and the bill became law in May as part of alarger bill. The legislation cracks down on “synthetic identity theft,”a new and growing type of financial crime in which criminals use stolen Social Security numbers with little or no credit history to open bank or credit card accounts under assumed names. The new law directs SSA to accept electronic signatures as “consumer consent” for financial institutions trying to verify customers’ identities, closing a key vulnerability scammers exploit in the credit verification process.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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ID Theft Letter to Social Security Administration (06/08/1802:43 PMET )