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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Local Governments and the Identity Protection Act

From Ancel Glink's labor & employment blog, The Workplace Report with Ancel Glink: Protect Your Employees' Social Security Numbers!

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. One of the primary ways that identity theft occurs is through the misuse of another person’s Social Security Number. To protect against this misuse, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Identity Protection Act (5 ILCS 179/10) in 2010. The Identity Protection Act requires employers, including local governments, to protect social security numbers, and  makes it a crime for employers to do the following:
  • Publicly post an individual’s Social Security Number;
  • Print an individual’s Social Security Number on any card required to access products to services;
  • Require a Social Security Number to be transmitted over the internet unless the connection is secure of the social security number is encrypted;
  • Mail any materials containing an individual’s Social Security Number;
  • Require an individual to use his Social Security Number to access the internet.

In addition, before releasing a public record in response to a FOIA request, a local government must redact any Social Security Numbers included in the requested record.  

The Act also requires both state and local governments to create an “identity-protection policy.” This policy must contain a plan to train employees on the protection of Social Security Number. It also must detail who is allowed to access documents containing Social Security Numbers, and should only allow those who need to see a document containing Social Security Number to have access to it. The plan also must require that a statement of the purpose for which Social Security Number is being collected to be transmitted to be given to anyone providing their Social Security Number.

If you are a local government employer and you do not have an identity protection policy or plan in place, we encourage you to do so ASAP.  

Originally Authored by Matthew DiCianni, Ancel Glink


  1. How would this effect mailing employee W2s, which contain this information?

  2. The Act contains a number of exemptions, including allowing an employer to include a social security number on "any material mailed in connection with any tax administered by the Department of Revenue..." among other exemptions.