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Identity Theft Alert: 10 Rules You Must Follow to Protect Yourself from America’s #1 Crime by Steve Weisman

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9. Identity Theft After Death

It is interesting to note that a tool for combating fraud and identity theft is used perhaps even more effectively by identity thieves to perpetrate fraud and identity theft. That tool is the Death Master File, which sounds like something Darth Vader would have. Instead, it is a database of information on more than 89 million people. The records contain the name, Social Security number, date of birth, date of death, and ZIP Code of the last residence for people who have died in America since the database’s inception in 1980.

The Death Master File was first set up in response to a lawsuit filed pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. The federal government sells the list and it can be found available, often free, ...

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