The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has announced a campaign and petition to stop efforts to remove access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and other records. Please read the announcement reproduced below. If you agree with its premise, we urge you to take a few minutes to sign the petition.
Also voters living in the 3rd Congressional District of Texas, which includes parts of McKinney, Frisco, Allen, Plano, Richardson, Garland, Rowlett and a few neighborhoods in Dallas just south of 635E, might consider sending an email to their representative Sam Johnson to urge him to read the RPAC campaign material. Johnson, who serves as Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, has taken to the House floor to introduce the Keeping IDs Safe Act, which will close public access to SSDI.
RPAC ANNOUNCES STOP ID THEFT NOW! CAMPAIGN WITH WHITE HOUSE PETITION
Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social SecurityDeath Index and Other Records
February 7, 2012– Austin, TX: The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) – a joint coalition of international genealogical societiesrepresenting millions of genealogists and family historians – announces the launch of its Stop ID Theft NOW! campaign with its We The People petition posted at WhiteHouse.gov.
Call To Action For IRS To Do Its Job
Each year, fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults are filed with the Internal RevenueService (IRS). The current target is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) or Death Master File since this file, as found on numerous genealogy-oriented websites, could possibly be the source of identity thieves acquiring a deceased person’s Social Security number.
The IRS could close the door to this form of identity theft if, in fact, it were to use the Death Master File for the purpose for which it was created: to reduce fraud. If returns claiming a tax refund were screened against theMaster Death File and matching cases identified for special processing, the thief should receive a rejection notice for the filing.
Tax Fraud and Identity Theft: Genealogists Are Not To Blame
The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon itsinformation. Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.
Loss of Access to SSDI Affects More Than Genealogists
The SSDI is accessed by many different companies, non-profits and other entities besides individuals researching their family history. Forensic specialists utilize the SSDI when reuniting remains of military veterans with their next-of-kin and descendants. Law offices, banks and insurance companies utilize the SSDI to resolve probate cases and to locate heirs. All of these entities would be required to spend more money and more time leveraging other resources of information when the SSDI has served this purpose, uninterrupted, for over a decade.
RPAC Petitions Obama Administration
The We the People petition, now posted at http://wh.gov/khE and accepting signatures, has a simple yet effective mission:
Take immediate steps that would curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults. [Note: Visitors to the WhiteHouse.gov website must log in to sign the petition, or click Create an Account to register. Once registered, return to http://wh.gov/khE to sign the petition.]
No need for lengthy hearings in front of a Congressional committee. No need for filing statements for or against any House action. No need to waste time and effort which could be directed to more pressing national issues. In fact, the National Taxpayer Advocate in 2011 issued suggestions which do not require additional legislation but can be implemented collaboratively between the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA) almost immediately in time to impact the current tax filing season.
About Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC)
The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) was formed to advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to historical records of genealogical value in whatever media they are recorded, on means to affec tlegislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.
The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservationand Access Committee (RPAC), which today includes The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board forCertification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), ProQuest and Ancestry.com serve as participating members.
To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org/rpac/