The Office of Personnel Management says deceased people whose identities were stolen during a monumental OPM background check hack should also be provided ID theft protection.
So, the agency is mailing notification letters addressed to the departed. In some cases, the dead individuals are receiving letters before their hacked, and living, loved ones.
About 300,000 of the 21.5 million victims are deceased, OPM spokesman Sam Schumach told Nextgov on Monday. That figure was derived from a “federal agency version” of the public death master file, a catalog of U.S. deaths since 1936, he said.
Late Friday, the hacked agency updated its OPM Cybersecurity Resource FAQ site to explain why residents are receiving notices for the deceased.
“Please accept our deepest sympathies on the loss of your loved one and please accept our apologies for any distress our letter has caused you,” the FAQ states. “Your loved one received a notification letter because we have determined that your loved one’s Social Security number and other personal information were included in the intrusion.”
OPM says it is not aware of any bad guys using the stolen data, but “to reduce the likelihood of any misuse, we are offering identify theft protection and credit monitoring services to deceased individuals.”
Annually, ID thieves steal personal information on almost 2.5 million deceased Americans, according to the IRS. In 2014, fraudsters were caught pocketing Social Security benefits for the deceased worth more than $55 million, according to the agency’s inspector general.
The deceased’s children also are eligible for the ID protection…