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Social Security Sells Dead Identities For $10

From CNN’s Money.Com:

Buy a dead person’s identity from Social Security for $10

By Blake Ellis | July 19, 2012

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — For $10, identity thieves can access the full name, Social Security number and other personal information of a dead person through a list of millions of deceased Americans, known as the Death Master File.

The Social Security Administration created the file to help financial institutions and businesses prevent identity theft, by using the file to cross-reference applicants or customers to make sure they are not using a deceased person’s identity. But Senator Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said the agency is "inadvertently facilitating tax fraud" by allowing any member of the general public to look up personal details about anyone who has passed away and potentially steal their identity.

“Inadvertently”? We wonder. Still, it’s quite amazing that a Democrat would take up this cause, since it would seem to be such a resource for registering voters. (Granted Mr. Casey is a Blue Dog.)

In a letter to the commissioner of the Social Security Administration and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday, Casey called for restrictions to be placed on access to the Death Master File…

Currently, the Social Security Administration provides the file to the Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which then distributes it to more than 450 entities including state and local governments, hospitals, universities, financial institutions, insurance companies, and genealogy services.

It would seem that it would be child’s play to get this information from any one of these places.

However, anyone can access the information through the NTIS website. To obtain records for one person, it costs $10. For an annual subscription with unlimited access to all of the files of deceased individuals, the price tag is $995


The IRS has been…. struggling to keep up with a surge in tax fraud, and the Treasury Inspector General said in May that the IRS could end up doling out $26 billion in fraudulent refunds over the next five years.

In a congressional hearing in May, IRS deputy commissioner Steven Miller said that as of mid-April, his agency had already flagged 91,000 tax returns that were filed under the names of recently deceased individuals.

In his testimony, Miller cited an example of a Tennessee woman who was fined $110,000 and sentenced to 108 months in prison this year for obtaining names from the Death Master File and preparing fraudulent tax returns to get undeserved refunds deposited into her bank account

So how long has this been going on, and why are we only hearing about it?

And the identities of dead people aren’t just being stolen for tax-related fraud. A recent report from fraud prevention firm ID Analytics showed that identity thieves also steal the personal information to apply for credit cards, cell phones and anything else requiring a credit check. About 2.4 million deceased Americans each year get their identities stolen each year — amounting to a rate of more than 2,000 thefts per day…

Funny, how CNN does not mention how this information would also be a gold mine for voter fraud. Why is that?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, July 23rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Social Security Sells Dead Identities For $10”

  1. BannedbytheTaliban says:

    Funny, how there is no mention of using this information to vote illegally, work illegally, reside illegally, rent an apartment illegally, get a mortgage illegally, collect federal/state benefits illegally…..

    Felt it necessary to add some things.

  2. “The Death Master File.”

    I hear it’s especially popular with Chicagoans.

  3. JohnMG says:

    “…..So how long has this been going on”…..

    Well, at least long enough for Obama to get one of the numbers from a state he never lived in. Certainly just a coincidence, I’m sure.

  4. Astravogel says:

    It may well be that TCP did not ‘get’ a SSN from
    a state he never lived in. Like a lot of his life, he
    seems to have been given necessities. Who did
    that and why are some questions needing answers.

  5. Right of the People says:

    But I’m sure King Barry the Lame must have flown over Connecticut sometime in the past. Doesn’t that count for residency?

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