As part of its “Stop ID Theft Now!” campaign, today the genealogy Records Preservation and Access Committee (a joint task force of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National Genealogical Society) plans to launch a petition drive to help preserve access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
Update: Click here to read and sign the petition. (Note: The page took awhile to load for me.)
Click here to read FAQs about the petition and how to electronically sign it. I recommend reading them, as I encountered some hiccups in the process of creating an account and clicking to sign.
Last week, we blogged about genealogists’ exclusion from a hearing of the House Ways & Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security. Read about SSDI threats including a bill that would eliminate it here.
The RPAC petition will urge measures that should immediately “curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from deceased infants and adults.”
The SSDI issue came to light after heartwrenching news reports of bereaved parents contending with identity theft when criminals filed tax returns with their deceased children’s SSNs.
But eliminating SSDI access won’t stop identity theft, say many genealogists. It won’t prevent hackers from stealing personal data from government and corporate computer systems, nor will it force the IRS to adopt better practices for preventing and investigating identity theft-related tax fraud, and improving handling of fraud cases.
RPAC encourages family historians and genealogical societies to start by finding out who their representatives are. WhoIsMyRepresentative.com lets you enter your ZIP code to find out.