We are all being warned not to let anyone get our SSN (Social Security Number) because it can be used for fraud. The basic problem is a misallocation of responsibility. My SSN card says it can not be used as an ID. The government, however, has decided to use it as an ID for the military, taxes, benefits, etc., because of a basic advantage in a unique ID, so it can tell John Smith from John Smith. The solution to the problem is to extend this to its' logical end: a universal unique name in all systems, a better name for digital uses. This has larger effects. A credit card company does not rely on the name, for there are lots of John Smiths, hence, a name is not a full ID. Any creditor who went to court with that to force a collection would be laughed out of court. A real verified ID is needed. A SSN is really only a handle, a name.
The ID theft problem can be stopped short. The solution is simple, and has precedent. All that is needed is to legally hold any person or company, who neglect to verify an identity, liable for all damages to a person resulting from this failure. If MBNA, Expirian, or Joe Blow don't bother to find out that it is not you, they are the ones that are responsible for the damage to you and should be legally held criminally liable, for their failure to act prudently should be entirely their problem. They should make you whole, not harm you because of their failure. If you paid your credit card off to someone fraudulently claiming they were MBNA, you would still owe MBNA, and the opposite should be true. Verification of ID, and putting legal teeth in it would eliminate the recent ID theft frauds.