Social Security agency accidentally leaks thousands of SSNs every year

Each year the Social Security administration accidentally puts thousands of people at risk of identity theft by mistakenly releasing their social security numbers, names, and dates of birth.

The leaked information spurs from typing errors from employees, when inputting data into the agency’s Death Master File, which is a database containing the records of 90 million deceased Americans.

Typically, the victims aren’t notified about their information being leaked, and discover it when being denied for a loan, bank account freezing, job interview refusals, etc. For the report, 3 files were reviewed, which revealed over 30,000 Americans wrongly listed on them. Some of them were contacted by the news service, and said that they hadn’t been notified by the Social Security Administration.

I believe that this could become a concern for more people, since the Social Security Administration is a trusted place with people’s information. It is understandable that with all of the data processing and inputting, there would be some errors occurring. I think they should have stricter guidelines with inputting the information, and have a system which would verify that the people inputted into the “deceased records” couldn’t mistakenly be inputted with wrong information.



6 thoughts on “Social Security agency accidentally leaks thousands of SSNs every year

  1. So what you are saying is i could be listed as dead because of an error don’t have verification software for this types of situations and what happens if they wrongly enter your number is it just as easy to rectify or do you have to go through a long process because of their error.

  2. Yea, I think they correct the issue once it’s noticed, I’m also surprised because it didn’t mention any system which could catch errors like that..

  3. I guess it depends on what the error is exactly, but there definitely should be measures in place to check, check and re-check data for better security. I have a feeling even if caught, the government wouldn’t take responsibility for their actions and just go “oh well”

  4. The only problem with checking an re checking data is that it could possible slow down the network costing them more then some problems would. I know its a slimey way of looking at things but it is inevitably the truth.

  5. The problem seems like something that can be fixed with simple quality control type situation where someone rechecks that the information inputted by one person is correct before it gets published to the Death Master File. It kind of seems like a lack of care or regulations on the side of the Social Security Administration, and is something that, in the case of a person’s identity, shouldn’t happen due to the fact that a government agency is inputting data wrong. If this is the case the Social Security Administration should correct this issue fast before a hacker figures out a way to exploit it.

  6. SSN from the source. It sounds like a honeycomb for hackers. I believe they would be doing everything they possibly can. Dealing with 453.7 million entries and it’s maintenance does not seem to be an easy task.

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