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Social Security Numbers of Deceased Children Being Stolen By Criminals

  December 29, 2011

On November 18, 2011, Congressman Sam Johnson (R- TX) and 7 other co-sponsors introduced a new bill to protect information received by the Commissioner of Social Security related to deceased individuals.

The “Keeping IDs Safe Act of 2011” (H.R. 3475) was created to help prevent Social Security numbers of deceased individuals (particularly children) from being stolen by identity thieves. What that means is criminals are stealing Social Security numbers from children who have died, and using the information to falsely claim dependents on their federal tax returns to get a refund. The criminals are able to do this before some families can file. Then the actual parents have to prove that their deceased child was really their child.

H.R. 3475 is very brief, and focuses on concerns with the Social Security Death Index (legally known as the Death Master File). It basically removes the existing provisions of the Social Security Act section “Use of Death Certificates to Correct Program Information, and replaces it with a new section. Then there is the addition of a new provision that could limit what information will be available over the internet.

The measure was assigned to a congressional committee on November 18, 2011, where it will be considered before possibly moving on to the House or Senate. We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

To read the entire Social Security Act Section 205 as it stands today click here.

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