Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nonexistent Information in Genealogy ----- Social Security System Part 3

What's My Number?

When the Social Security Act of 1935 was signed into law, the social security number was developed.   The social security number was designed as a unique nine digit identifier which is assigned to an individual after completion of an application. It is presently used to track Social Security benefits, authentication and identification purposes.  Once an individual dies the number is not recycled. But are these statements  true?

In March 2015, the Office of the Inspector General* for the Social Security Administration* identified 6.5 million social security number holders age 112 or older who did not have death information on the Numident (acronym for "Numerical Identification System). There are approximately 35 people worldwide who are known to be 112 years old. In the report, a man fraudulently opened two banks accounts using social security numbers of individuals born in 1886 and 1893 who did not appear on the Death Master File.

ID Analytics is a company which develops consumer software solutions for authentication and identification purposes and a subsidiary of LifeLock.*  Lifelock is an identity theft protection company.  ID Analytics has discovered that:

  1.  More than 100,000 people have 5 or more social security numbers
  2.    15% of social security numbers are associate with two or more people 
  3.  More than 140,000 social security numbers are associated with 5 or more people
  4.  More than 27,000 social security are associated with 10 or more people
  5.  6.1% of Americans have 2 social security numbers associated with their name 

I have been researching my maternal family tree on Ancestry.com  in the U.S. Social Security Application Claims Index 1936-2007.  I found  three results for an ancestor Chalmers Bearden.  His name is listed three times differently.

           Name                                 Date of Birth               Place of Birth         Application     Parents
Chalmers Bearden  29/Nov/1889   McComb     June    Harriet
                                                                   Ms              1937   Stacher
 Chalmern Bearden  29/Nov/1886   McComb    Nov    Harriet
                                                                   Ms              1941   Stacher

CH Bearden        29/Nov/1885      McComb        Dec     Harriet
                                                                    Ms          1943      Stacher

 Many of the errors are thought to secondary to duplication errors and fraud.  In genealogy research the social security number may not be a definitive source of information. 

* I am not an employee or representative of these organizations
 ----- The Tree Gardener

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