The California congressional representative from San Diego, Susan Davis, has sponsored HR 5494, Identity Theft Protection for the Deceased Act. The bill would require the credit bureaus flag the files of the deceased for whom they have records in order to reduce the chances that the decedent’s SSN will be used to open new accounts. Reasonable enough.
In her comments on the legislation, Davis alludes to the SSDI, a free online data source of social security numbers, dates of birth and dates of death, which she claims could be useful to fraudsters who “can collect this information with relative ease giving them a study supply of Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and the information they need to commit these horrible crimes.” The bill could yet be amended to prohibit the dissemination of the Social Security Death Index by the Social Security Administration. The data is made available, for free, on the Internet by various outlets including, RootsWeb.
The local San Diego broadcast TV station, 10news.com, has taken it upon itself to request that the SSA remove the Death Index from its Web site.