10.15.2012

PSA: Identity thieves steal the social security numbers of dead children.

From "Social Security death list enables dead children’s ID theft" (Scripps Howard News Service, November 7, 2011):
Parents who recently lost a child are increasingly targeted by these thieves, experts say. Armed with the deceased child’s Social Security number and other personal information, the crooks falsely claim them as dependents and have the refunds routed to them.
You see, the Social Security Administration's Death Master File is sold to genealogy websites by the Commerce Department's National Information Service, which puts the numbers at the fingertips of researchers and thieves, alike. The latter file fake returns early, which results in the legitimate return being rejected.

In our case, this wasn't quite as traumatic as it could have been: Our son turned twenty-one the year he died but was no longer our dependent; hence, I filed a return on his behalf. In other words, our own return was unaffected. But it took many telephone calls and much paperwork to resolve the case, which was finally closed this past summer.

Families who have lost a dependent child may face the horror of dealing with the IRS regarding their own return, though.

I can't. even. imagine.

Here are a couple of related news articles and a post:

Identity Thieves Are Stealing Social Security Numbers From Dead Children 

Tax Cheats Troll Public List for Dead Kids’ Identities 

IRS May Have Lost Billions To Identity Theft, Treasury Says

I suspect there may be a special circle in hell for these people.
 

3 comments:

ChristineMM said...

Dealing with my own identity theft in 1999 and the many times since then re-using of the old stolen data has been a nightmare. I have had a lot of stress over this and actual anxiety over dealing with it.

We now pay LifeLock so if anything happens THEIR STAFF can deal with it, not me.

Trying to deal with it regarding a deceased child of mine would probably put me over the edge into insanity.

ChristineMM said...

Dealing with my own identity theft in 1999 and the many times since then re-using of the old stolen data has been a nightmare. I have had a lot of stress over this and actual anxiety over dealing with it.

We now pay LifeLock so if anything happens THEIR STAFF can deal with it, not me.

Trying to deal with it regarding a deceased child of mine would probably put me over the edge into insanity.

Mental multivitamin said...

I never really questioned my sanity, but there were *definitely* moments when I wondered, "How much more insult to injury?"