JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Phyllis Kelczewski was stunned when she did a simple Google search on herself and found something unexpected: her late father Walter's Social Security number.
In fact, Kelczewski said she found her dad's among hundreds of Social Security numbers listed on the Internet for the world to see.
"It says all this is public information," said Kelczewski.
After looking through the list, Channel 4 checked through a number of the names listed and found even more information on hundreds of unsuspecting people.
Some of the links not only had people's Social Security numbers, but also their birth date and their date of death.
"Now how many people if they got a hold of that information would use it against? How do I know? I know the house is paid for, but how do I know it was not transferred to my mother's name? It could still be in my father's name. Someone could come in and take that house out from underneath her," said Kelczewksi.
Channel 4's crime analyst Ken Jefferson said the Social Security numbers of the dead are often targeted by crooks.
"People who are deceased, they're Social Security number gets out, thieves will use that to obtain credit, get loans, take on an identity of a person, they steal it, get the goods and they're gone," said Jefferson.
Jefferson said Kelczewski did the right thing by checking on her dad's background. A regular Internet check into your background or that of a loved one can answer a lot of questions.
"She's a smart person for doing that. Simply for what she's uncovered," said Jefferson. "It's not a bad practice on annual basis or semi-annual basis just to Google it see if there's anything that's popping up."
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