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Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social Security Death Index and Other Records

Please see the announcement below from the Records Preservation and Access
Committee regarding the SSDI. Thanks.

Link to the WhiteHouse.gov petition: http://wh.gov/khE

Instructions for signing up at WhiteHouse.gov and signing the petition can
be found at http://fgs.org/pdf/rpac_petition.pdf.

**Originally posted by Thomas MacEntee on the APG Member Mailing List

===========================================================

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2012

RPAC ANNOUNCES STOP ID THEFT NOW! CAMPAIGN WITH WHITE HOUSE PETITION

Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social Security
Death Index and Other Records

February 7, 2012– Austin, TX: The Records Preservation & Access Committee
(RPAC) – a joint coalition of international genealogical societies
representing 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 Revenue
Service (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 the
Master 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 its
information. 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
tohttp://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 affect
legislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and
practices.

The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservation
and 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 for
Certification 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/.

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