Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blogger Exonerates SSDI

Kevin Poulsen at Threat Level reports on a case where someone used the SSDI to steal identities.

Tracy June Kirkland, 42, allegedly used to find the names, Social Security numbers and dates-of-birth of people who, shall we say, had no further need for their consumer credit lines. She then "would randomly call various credit card companies to determine if the deceased individual had an … account," according to the 15-count indictment (.pdf) filed in federal court in Los Angeles Tuesday.

She'd then persuade the issuer to change the mailing address for the dead victim to one of her many rented mail drops in Orange and Riverside counties, and in some cases she'd add her own name as an authorized user of the card, prosecutors say.

At least 100 of the dearly departed were allegedly used in the scheme, which prosecutors say began in October, 2005 and continued until last month.
Poulsen went to the trouble of actually asking folks at the SSA and Rootsweb how the SSDI works—unlike the MSM journalists I wrote about here, here, and here. He found that the fault in the Kirkland case lies not with the SSDI itself, but with the lenders who didn't use it correctly. In the words of Rootsweb spokesman Mike Ward, "The reason the Social Security Administration has it out there is to prevent fraud, and when it's used to perpetrate fraud it's because not all the checks and balances were in place on the financial institution's end."

Craig Manson

Thanks, Chris, (and Kevin) for helping to shoot down a silly notion. But perhaps the SSA needs to post a notice in large type on the Death Master File that says: WARNING - THESE SSNs ARE NO LONGER VALID. THAT'S WHY WE PUBLISH THEM! Maybe then these so-called investigative reporters would get a clue.

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