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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

They Smell a Pulitzer

The folks at 10News in San Diego are patting themselves on the back for blowing the whistle on the SSDI.

Obituary identity thieves [are] gleaning names of the dead from obituaries, and matching them up with Social Security numbers posted on the Internet, on privately run genealogy sites and on the site run by the Social Security Administration, the Master Death Index.
10News took concerns about identity theft to the Social Security Administration, asking them to consider taking the Master Death Index off its Web site. [Link]
Apparently they didn't read my previous post explaining why they are a bunch of sun-baked nitwits. Until I hear of a single case that proves me wrong, I'll continue to maintain that no one has ever used data from the SSDI to steal someone else's identity. It's dead people not listed in the index who are vulnerable to identity theft. Once they're listed, the credit companies know that their SSNs are not valid.

By the way, asking the SSA to take the index off their website was a bold move, but I doubt they'll comply. The SSDI isn't on their website.

Randy Seaver

Chris,

This is one of my hometown TV stations - the one I don't watch much.

All they can smell is hairspray and deodorant, I think.

Between their tucked-in ears and under their poofed-up hairpieces there is not a lot of brainpower on these folks.

IIRC, the SSN is on the CA death certificates - all someone has to do is watch the obituaries, check the SSN, get a death cert for $12 each, and he is in business.

But there's no indiciation this has ever been done. Maybe 10News wants to start people thinking. Idiots.

Jason

Yes, you notice they never actually mention any details about the "case" involving the one person they got a quote from, nor do they specifically mention any link to the SSDI.

Just wait until they discover all that phone number and address information those nefarious characters at the phone company have been publishing and dropping on people's door steps every year! They're practically forcing identity theft on the public!

Chris

If local or state officials are required (as they should be) to promptly alert the SSA of deaths, and agencies are required (as they might be soon) to check the freshly updated Death Master File before green-lighting credit applications, thieves will have only a narrow window of opportunity to steal the soon-to-be-invalidated SSNs of dead folks.

The SSDI is an easy target because it seems to provide valuable information. In truth, its value is only historical and genealogical. Censoring it would be the knee-jerkiest of reactions.

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