North Country Congressman Bill Owens wants the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove Social Security Numbers from identification cards for senior citizens.
During a mobile office hours event in Croghan late last month, a constituent told congressional staff that scammers often target senior citizens enrolled in Medicare because their Social Security Numbers appear on the program's ID cards.
Now, Owens is urging CMS to remove the numbers in order to protect seniors from identity theft.
"In this day and age, it is more important than ever to ensure that seniors' identities are protected," Owens said.
"They deserve peace of mind that they will not be a victim when collecting their Medicare benefits," he added.
Owens says that according to estimates compiled by the Federal Trade Commission, some 10 million Americans fall victim to some form of identity theft annually. That represents about 5 percent of the nation's adult population.
Those thefts amount to more than $50 billion in reported losses every year, Owens adds.