Equifax mess shows why Social Security numbers need to be replaced with something less easy to steal

The Equifax EFX, -3.81% breach exposed the data of potentially 143 million people, putting them at high risk of identity theft and fraud. The devastating hack has underscored what many security experts have been arguing for years: We shouldn’t be using Social Security numbers for authentication in the first place.

“We are now at a point where our hands are tied: We can no longer conscientiously use this as an authentication and be taken seriously by consumers,” Seth Ruden, senior fraud consultant at global payments systems company ACI Worldwide, said of the Social Security number.

A lifelong, unchanging identifier like a Social Security number makes hacks more appealing to scammers and inevitably puts consumers at high risk.

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