News & Resources

SSA inadvertently exposes more than 30,000 identities

Nov 17, 2011 Matt Roesly

The identities of tens of thousands of civilians are subject to identity theft every year as a result of an unexpected source, and that source is the Social Security Administration, InformationWeek reports. More than ever, in this digital world, information is transferred and hacked at an alarming rate. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were a quarter million identity theft complaints during 2010. More than 30,000 Americans were inaccurately classified as dead, followed by the SSA disclosing the individual's information. These errors occur among 1 percent of the 2 million deaths filed by the SSA per year. This false information is then reported to more than 300 National Technical Information Service clients who help prevent identity theft and fraud. Individuals with the same name as the deceased person registered by the SSA will have their bank accounts frozen, job interviews rescinded, and cell phone contracts cancelled and potential short term loans rejected, the news source states. "As you know, if a person is mistakenly placed on this list, it can result in problems with credit agencies, applying for a loan, or even getting a job," Senator Richard Durbin wrote. "In addition, individuals who have been in this situation report that the problem can be difficult to resolve."