“Living Dead Girl: Cyber Ghost Can’t Convince Government She’s Alive!”

Madeline-Michelle Carthen’s tragicomic tale of being a ‘cyber ghost,’ declared dead due to Social Security Number errors, is a Kafkaesque nightmare. Despite being very much alive, she faces a bureaucratic labyrinth to prove her existence. It’s a cybersecurity issue that’s more about life and death than ones and zeros.

Hot Take:

Imagine being dead for 16 years, but you’re still applying for a job, paying your bills, and getting your daily caffeine fix at Starbucks. Madeline-Michelle Carthen’s situation is like a tragicomic Kafka novel where you can’t seem to convince anyone, not even the government, that you’re alive. A cyber ghost in the system who can’t even get a decent credit score. Now that’s a cybersecurity issue that makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

Key Points:

  • Madeline-Michelle Carthen, a St. Louis native, has been trying to prove her existence to the government for the past 16 years.
  • The trouble started when her social security number was erroneously linked to a deceased person.
  • Carthen, despite reaching out to several officials, has not found a resolution yet.
  • She even has a second social security number now, but it is also linked to her “deceased” status.
  • Her situation isn’t unique, with 7,000 to 12,000 people erroneously recorded as dead annually.

Need to know more?

A Zombie in the System

Madeline-Michelle Carthen is, by all accounts, alive and well. She's not a zombie, a vampire, or any other kind of undead creature. But try telling that to the government, which seems convinced that she's been six feet under since 2007. The trouble started when Carthen's social security number was erroneously linked to someone who had passed away. Since then, she's been living a haunted existence, unable to secure a job, credit, or even a driver's license.

Phantom Pain

Despite reaching out to numerous local, state, and federal officials and agencies, Carthen has been unable to convince the powers that be of her existence. The situation has forced her to change her last name from Coburn and has derailed her academic and professional life. The problem is so severe that she even got a second social security number – but guess what, it's also linked to her "deceased" status.

Dead Men Walking

Shocking as Carthen's situation may seem, it's not as unique as you'd think. According to the Social Security and the Advisory Board, between 7,000 to 12,000 people are erroneously recorded as dead on SSA’s numident annually. And the consequences can be severe: identity authentication issues, difficulty securing employment, denial of credit, delayed tax refunds, and more. The solution? Well, the SSA suggests that the 'deceased' should head to their local Social Security office with proper ID. Sounds simple enough, if only they'd believe you're alive.

The Last Laugh

In a scenario that is part comic, part tragic, Carthen is left to navigate the Kafkaesque labyrinth of bureaucracy, hoping to one day convince the system of her existence. And her plea is not just for herself, but for the thousands of others who may find themselves in a similar predicament. It's a cybersecurity issue that's more about life and death than ones and zeros. And it's a reminder that while technology may have brought us into the 21st century, our systems are still stuck in the dark ages.

Tags: Deceased Fraud, Financial Struggles, Government Bureaucracy, Identity Verification, Legal Challenges, Personal Identification,