Bank To Woman: Sorry, But You're Dead - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bank To Woman: Sorry, But You're Dead

MSNBC.COM - Judy Rivers went to the bank with a simple request in April: She wanted to open a safe deposit box. The response, while equally simple, was a complete surprise. The bank turned her down. Why?

She was dead.

At least that's what the bank's security systems indicated. Sorry, a bank official said, we can't open an account for you. Rivers asked more questions but got only vague answers. An outside company indicated there was a problem with her Social Security number, she was told, but the bank wouldn't tell her the name of the firm.

"Needless to say, I was startled," said Rivers, 58, who lives in Jasper, Ala. And so began her digital murder mystery.

Rivers says her premature electronic demise has led to multiple denials of credit, difficulty accessing her own money and, at one point, a confrontation with police that nearly landed her in jail. She says she has been denied two job interviews because the firms could not validate her Social Security number. Still, she doesn't know why "the system" seems to want her dead. Read on to find out why you, too, can be declared dead at the whim of a few bits and bytes and find yourself in a true 21st-century nightmare.

After the initial safe deposit box denial, Rivers was given only this hint about her tenuous situation — after much badgering, a bank official showed her a letter with this one-line statement, "This Social Security Number has been discontinued, the holder of this number was reported dead on August 3, 2008."

She had been dead for nearly two years, according to the system. What system? The bank wouldn't tell her.

So she headed down to the local Social Security office right away.

 

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