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A TIME "Moneyland" feature highlights the importance of Social Security numbers (SSNs) as personal identifiers and why banks--in light of the threat of identity theft brought on by the digital age--continue to use them to verify customers' identities. According to a Javelin study, 70 percent of banks still use SSNs to identify customers in some way, but one researcher says there are other methods that don't pose as much risk. A 2008 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report agreed, and the FTC recently testified in front of a congressional subcommittee to limit reliance on SSNs, the report states.
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