29 Dec 2005

American Samoa improves identity card system

10:46 am on 29 December 2005

The Office of Vital Statistics has made changes to the American Samoa Identification Cards it issues to comply with new fedeeral regulations and to prevent identity theft.

The Head of the Office of Vial Statistics, Tai Solomona, says the major change is removing an individual's Social Security number from the card.

That number is a vital piece of information used by identity theft offenders to gain someone else's personal information.

The Social Security number is now being replaced by a random number that corresponds with the agency's records.

Solomona said the number is then used for verification in the event the office is contacted by an employer.

Solomona said some residents took identity theft lightly, but it could ruin a person's credit rating.

She said the Attorney General's Office is concerned about the issue because of the lack of local laws to protect victims of identity theft.