The Social Security Administration made public the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for over 36,000 people.  The personal identifying information of 36,657 persons was made available to the public for a fee in the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. 

The Social Security Administration was previously warned by the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General in 2008 against this practice.  In its report, the Inspector General expressly warned the Social Security Administration of its failure to “implement a risk-based approach for distributing DMF information, attempt to limit the amount of information included on the DMF version sold to the public, or explore alternatives to inclusion of individuals’ full Social Security number (SSN).” 

Further, the Inspector General recommended the Social Security Administration should take additional precautions to limit the personal identifying information published in the Death Master File.  However, the Social Security Administration disagreed with the Inspector General’s recommendations. 

Read the Inspector General Report.

If you have received a letter from the Social Security Administration about your personal information being listed on the Death Master File, then you may be at risk for identity theft.  If you believe your personal identifying information was made public by the Social Security Administration, then you should contact identity theft and data protection lawyer Micah Adkins.

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