Thousands are Wrongly Declared Dead Every Year

March 23, 2016

Data entry mistakes happen all the time due in large part to simple human error. A recent story from CBS News looks at how thousands of errors to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File can result in fraudulent payments. These can cost taxpayers billions of dollars, not to mention identity headaches. The Death Master File is a huge public file that contains the Social Security number, name, birth/death date, zip codes and last known residences of millions of deceased Americans. When a person passes, the news is relayed by the government to banks and credit agencies, the IRS, Medicare, even law enforcement. The segment shares several stories, including that of one woman who was actually suspected to be an identity thief herself, when she attempted to use a bank card at a store, but had been listed as deceased. Issues surrounding this led to her struggling to clear things up with a credit agency, among other issues. Digital death mistakes are not new news, but it’s important to realize the impact of such serious mistakes. Besides the risk of data theft, issues that can surface include: benefit termination, financial hardship, credit issues, closed accounts, issues getting a job, emotional distress…the list goes on. When simple mistakes cause major headaches, IDShield members have access to valuable services from consultation and monitoring to expert identity restoration. These are valuable services that individuals, or the whole family, can rely on.