Representative Sam Johnson has an interesting bill that he says will decrease the likelihood of identity theft in an unusual area — identity thieves who are stealing the identities of people who have . . . died.
HR 2720, co-introduced by Johnson and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), is named after a deceased child victim of identity fraud and would delay the now-required publication of the SSA’s Death Master File.
If the bill passes, beginning January 2014, only death information released three years after the person has died would be made available – giving family members adequate time to file tax returns and preventing criminals from stealing the returns or information.
“For far too long, identity thieves have been exploiting the so-called Death Master File in order to cash in on deceased Americans’ identities,” Johnson said. “That’s just wrong. Worse, these criminals are deliberately targeting deceased children, like 4-year-old Alexis Agin. Worrying about a deceased loved one’s identity is the very last thing a grieving family needs.”
The DMF contains Social Security numbers, first and last names, dates of birth and death and is available to the public. It has been in use for decades and has collected death information for more than 87 million people.
“This common-sense bill will protect families and prevent further abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Johnson said. “Even the president included a similar proposal in his 2014 budget. It’s a no-brainer. We must protect Americans from fraud at every turn.”
I’ve not seen this very often but this bill sounds like a reasonable measure to cut down on crime. I remember when most public records had social security numbers on them and then we realized this was a problem. Good to see this is being addressed in this unusual context.
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