After reading about the controversy surrounding the LDS Church’s practice of baptisms for the dead, a Salt Lake City man checked the church’s International Genealogical Index to see if anyone had done ordinance work for his deceased parents without his permission.
He found their names, their birth and death dates and their Social Security numbers.
Talk about being ripe for identity theft.
After I contacted LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter, and he checked the names, which indeed included the Social Security numbers, he alerted officials and said steps have been taken to fix the problem.
"Open records of deceased persons are essential to family history research and actually help safeguard against identity theft by removing the cloak of anonymity that is used for fraudulent purposes," Trotter said. "Unfortunately, misuse of information may have occurred with Social Security numbers contained in the Social Security Death Master File."
He says FamilySearch has suspended the publication of Social Security numbers from that file "to prevent fraudulent use."(SLTrib 3rd April)