California is Sending SSNs Through the Mail

A state audit has revealed that one California agency is putting citizens at risk for identity theft.  California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) has been including personally identifiable information like Social Security numbers on documents that it mails.  EDD is responsible for dispensing benefits related to unemployment, disability, and parental leave.

The agency has been sending out this information despite the fact that this practice was questioned back in 2015.  The initial response to the new audit was to propose an upgrade to the computer system that relies on the SSNs to be used, with the upgrade completed in 2024. 

After some criticism, particularly from former Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, the EDD has agreed to implement changes more quickly, within two years, at a cost of $3.4 million.  The agency plans on getting around SSN use by replacing them with a unique identifier. 

While the number of forms being sent with private information has been reduced in recent years, they still total 17 million, leaving many people at risk.

The audit went a step further with its recommendations, though, suggesting that California bar the use of Social Security numbers in mailed documents across all agencies by 2022, and provide credit monitoring if they can’t make this deadline.

At Extract, we know how important it is to keep personally identifiable information like Social Security numbers out of the wrong hands.  We also know that having someone find and redact this information manually is a large waste of time, resources, and employee expertise.  That’s why we’ve created software that automates redaction, reading unstructured documents the same way a human would and permanently removing any sensitive information.

If you’d like to learn more about how we protect sensitive information, please reach out to us today.


About the Author: Chris Mack

Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing.  Chris received his bachelor’s degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.