When people collect social security numbers that are not their own, they can use them to commit federal crimes, such as identity theft and fraud. While most people assume that these numbers have to be stolen from other living people, the reality is that there are millions of numbers that belong to presumably dead people that could also be used.
When someone passes away, the number is supposed to be marked with a date of death. An audit that was carried out recently found that this was not always done when it was supposed to be done, leaving 6.5 million numbers active for people who are 112 years old.
Of course, it's unlikely that there are actually that many people of such an advanced age in the United States. The assumption is that the vast majority of these individuals have passed away, but their numbers could still have been used to commit various crimes.
One thing that indicated crimes were not actively being committed in most cases is that social security payments weren't being sent out to the majority of those people. Just 266 payments were being sent out, and 13 of them were legitimately going to people who were alive and well at 112 years of age. In other cases, the issue was not with invalid payments, but with errors in the records.
Those who are accused of federal crimes deserve to have a fair trial in Maryland, just as they do throughout the United States. If you have been given criminal charges, be sure that you know what options you have to defend your case.
Source: Credit.com, "The 6.5 Million Social Security Numbers That Shouldn’t Exist" Christine DiGangi, Mar. 17, 2015