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California SB 25 - Recent Law on the Use of Social Security Numbers


The intent of recent amendments to law concerning the use of Social Security numbers (SSN) is to protect SSNs from being stolen and to prevent identity theft. These guidelines highlight requirements of the law.

The Law: Civil Code Section 1798.85


Amending Legislation:

Effective Date

January 1, 2004, unless otherwise indicated below.


Under the law, the following actions are prohibited:

Allowable Uses of the SSN

As a Requirement of Law or for Administrative Purposes: Social Security numbers may be

Grandfather Clause: If a state or local agency used an individual's SSN in the manner prohibited above prior to January 1, 2004, it is allowed to continue to use that individual's SSN in the same manner on or after January 1, 2004, if all of the following conditions are met:

This grandfather clause concerns the use of an individual's SSN and not the practice of using SSNs in general.

Guidance about Truncating the SSN

The law does not prohibit printing a truncated SSN on a document to be mailed to the individual. If an SSN is truncated, however, only the last four digits should be displayed, e.g., XXX-XX-1234.

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