LAS VEGAS - Sharon Rosenberg fondly remembers her husband of 41 years.
"My husband's name was Irvin, but he liked to be called Irv," she said. "He was a great salesman and a good father."
In 2007, Irv passed away. Rosenberg thought he would only live on in her memories. It turns out, however, his personal information was alive and well for anyone to see on an ancestry website called Familysearch.org.
"I was mad as a hatter," Rosenberg said.
Irv's Social Security number was on the site. Since that's also her Medicare number, Rosenberg wanted it taken down immediately. So, she e-mailed the company.
"What I got was a canned response from them," she said. "I called them on three separate occasions and basically got nowhere."
She says she took it as far as she could.
"I contacted the attorney general's office. I contacted Harry Reid. I contacted Social Security, Homeland Security," she said.
No one would help her until she contacted the I-Team's 8 on Your Side investigators who called the Mormon church that runs the website and got Irv's information removed.
As for why it was posted in the first place, all Social Security numbers of deceased individuals are public record. They are posted on the Social Security Death Index. The government makes the numbers public record to reduce identity theft.
Any time someone applies for a loan or credit, the Social Security number is checked on the death index. That way, financial institutions can spot an identity thief in a matter of minutes.
Rosenberg feels better knowing Irv's information isn't available for anyone to see. She's also glad 8 News NOW helped keep her identity safe.
"I don't feel as vulnerable as I did," she said. "It's what's known as the power of the press."
Unless you contact these ancestry websites about taking your loved one's information down, it may be available for anyone to see. To get it taken down, you need to call the website and speak with a manager.
If you have a consumer problem or question, you can contact the I-Team's 8 on Your Side volunteers at 702-650-1907 or e-mail us.
Friday, July 25 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:43:26 GMT
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