Va. Beach man has same SSN as dead New York man

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Social Security Administration thinks a Virginia Beach man is dead, but he’s very much alive.

Due to what is likely a clerical error, a dead man in New York has Tyrone Baucom’s social security number, and that continues to haunt Baucom. So, he called 10 On Your Side when he thought he was getting the run around from the SSA.

Baucom served four years in prison for identity theft. Ironically, now his own identity’s been stolen.

“The irony of the situation is, what goes around comes around,” Baucom said. “You reap what you sow.”

Here’s the twist: his social security number is now attached to a man with a similar name — Tyrone Beason — who died in 2003. But that’s hard for potential employers to believe when a background check shows Baucom’s past with identify theft.

“Every time an employer runs my social, it appears that I am fraudulently trying to obtain employment by using the social of someone who is deceased,” Baucom told 10 On Your Side.

But unemployment isn’t the only problem his duplicated SSN has caused. Transportation is also an issue. In a letter from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, officials said they were “unable to assist [Baucom] for a driver’s license due to an issue with social security.”

“I know the name because there was an attempt to garnish my wages in the early 2000s for his child support … I’ve never had children, and my employer at the time did not garnish my wages … that’s when I first knew there was an issue with the social,” Baucom said.

In early May, Baucom went to the Virginia Beach Social Security Administration Office, and then got a letter June 6 from District Manager Anita Asbell: “We are required to obtain evidence to substantiate this before we can remove the death information from your record.”

Baucom is frustrated that his visit was six weeks ago, and he’s still waiting for a resolution. So he called 10 On Your Side, and we went with him back to Social Security and spoke with Asbell. She put us in touch with a Public Affairs Specialist in Philadelphia, Vivian Nichols.

“Sir, I apologize. I know how frustrating it is. We need to investigate it, and find out what’s going on, and how it occurred. We need to take the necessary steps to resolve it, what’s going on, and how it occurred,” Nichols said during a phone conversation with Baucom.

But Baucom is frustrated, and that was detectable as he spoke to Nichols: “I was always taught, if you are up to your butt in alligators, it’s not important how you got there, you just got to get out of there. You all are not
letting me get those alligators off my butt.”

It seems the SSA understands Baucom’s problem now.

“You guys put a fire up their butt. I appreciate that, and that’s the reason I called you. I’m trying to start my life again,” Baucom told 10 On Your Side.

Following our visit, the SSA called Baucom and said they have no new information, but are investigating it and will be back in touch.

As for Tyrone, he’s trying to restart his life after past mistakes. He’s hoping someone hires him and gives him a chance to show how he can use his hands for any project. He said he’s also a certified forklift operator, looking for a break — and happy to report he is alive.

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