‘I know I’m alive’: Man says AARP, IRS and other agencies believe he’s dead

CHARLOTTE — Joe Maddox said his doctor called his wife to offer condolences.

“She was [shocked] and I was too. I didn’t know I was supposed to be deceased,” he told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “I know I’m alive.”

He said he doesn’t know where the mistake came from.

Not only did the doctor think he died, AARP, his health insurance company and the IRS all think he’s dead. All three sent him letters about his “estate” or him being “deceased.”

He said he asked the Social Security Administration for a letter to give IRS saying he’s alive, which it did.

Many call the status “Death by Credit Bureau” even if, technically, the credit-reporting agencies didn’t make the mistake.

Depending on what source you read, the government or credit reporting agencies mistakenly declare anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 people dead each year.

That’s more than 30 each day.

[Action 9: Gaston County woman says credit reporting agencies think she’s dead]

That can really impact your life, making it hard to borrow money for a house, car or college. Problems could arise when opening a line of credit or keeping benefits you have been getting, such as disability.

Maddox said it’s causing him problems with his taxes and stimulus checks.

“I’ve tried not to lose any sleep over it,” Maddox said. “But I would like to know who, who is supposed to be in my grave you know.”

Stoogenke contacted the IRS for him see if he could help.

If it happens to you:

  • Get a copy of all three credit reports. You’re entitled to a free one from each of the three credit reporting agencies each year – so you may not even have to pay for them.
  • See if you can tell whether the mistake is with a home loan, car loan, or something else.
  • Fight it.
  • You may have to go to the source.
  • You may need a lawyer.
  • If the IRS is the one who thinks you’re dead, read this.

(Watch the video below: Three people sue Equifax over Death by Credit Bureau)