Sen. Jansen's consumer protection legislation approved
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Legislation protecting Michigan residents from the possible theft of their Social Security number was approved by the state Senate Thursday, said Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Gaines Township.
Senate Bill 298, sponsored by Jansen, would allow a register of deeds to remove or obscure all or at least the first five digits of a Social Security number on a copy provided to another individual.
"Social Security numbers are as important to a person's identity as their fingerprints," Jansen said. "Unfortunately, identity theft is a major concern nowadays and there is absolutely no reason Social Security numbers should remain on copies of land titles provided to the general public."
Jansen's bill also allows an individual whose SSN is contained in a county's book of records, including computerized recording systems, to request the register of deeds obscure or remove the first five digits of their SSN from copies.
Under the Michigan Social Security Number Privacy Act a register of deeds must obscure or remove the SSN from documents by July 1, unless prohibited by law, regulation, court order or rule. Unfortunately, the law did not amend certain recording statutes.
In seeking legal counsel, the Register of Deeds Association found a split legal decision regarding its role in the removal of the SSN from documents filed with its office. If signed into law SBs 298 though 303 would clarify its obligation.
Other bills in the package would allow similar safeguards for real estate titles and documents such as recording of deeds, mortgages and instruments of record.
"In this day and age we have to do everything possible to protect our identities and our finances," Jansen said. "These important pieces of legislation will allow us to help ensure the safety of Michigan residents' Social Security numbers."
The legislation will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.