Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Reddest Tape Ever: What If Your Bank Thinks You're Dead?

What happened to Judy Rivers of Jasper, Alabama is something out of a novel that only Franz Kafka and Joseph Heller, collaborating together, could conjure up.  Reported on Red Tape Chronicles, what happened to Judy Rivers is that she died.  Or didn't.  Or maybe she did, but wasn't aware that she died.

Rivers couldn't open a safety deposit box at her bank, was denied credit, and couldn't even use her credit cards, all because the "system" thought she was dead.  What system was that?  The Social Security Administration, the master registry and guardian of who's alive and who's, um, not.  After the mother of all runarounds --nobody would tell her why this was happening to her-- the Social Security Administration finally gave her the bad news: ""This Social Security Number has been discontinued, the holder of this number was reported dead on August 3, 2008."

At one store Rivers first tried to use her debit card:  denied.  Then her credit card: denied.  The cashier, suspecting fraud, called the police.  The police officer confiscated her cards and told the cashier to destroy them.  To say that Rivers' life became a nightmare would be an understatement.

You can read the full story on Red Tape Chronicles.  Is there a moral to this story?  I have no idea.  Maybe it's that exercise and a healthy diet aren't enough to keep you alive.  You need the "system," too.

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