WASHINGTON—In what experts confirmed represents one of the largest violations of personal privacy in the nation’s history, public advocacy agencies revealed Monday that 340 million Social Security numbers had fallen into the hands of the federal government in a massive data breach. “By exploiting critical vulnerabilities in the Social Security system, it appears the the cunning individuals behind this operation were able to gain access to nearly every American’s Social Security number as well as basic information relating to their name and location,” said Consumer Action president Lydia Wright, adding that the unprecedented threat to privacy had been perpetrated as part of an extensive operation dating back to 1935 by a shadowy organization known as the Social Security Administration. “Frankly, we don’t know how deep this goes. It’s quite possible they also acquired decades of tax returns through an ingenious phishing technique in which they directly asked Americans to mail them these forms. In the meantime, we’re warning everyone to be cautious if someone claiming to be a government agent asks for their Social Security number because that’s likely exactly who they are.” The agency went on to suggest that every American take the safety precaution of immediately changing their Social Security number to something more secure.