Cleveland man spends months proving Social Security, credit cards, he’s not dead

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CLEVELAND — Sam Oliver says he feels pretty good for a dead man.

On Friday, Oliver spoke with the FOX 8 I-Team in the backyard of his Cleveland home. He has spent the last few months trying to put his life back together, after he was told by the Social Security Administration and credit card companies that their records showed he was dead.

” I could not believe it. I kept asking them what I died of, where did I die, was there a funeral and did anyone show up? says Oliver. “I even get letters from people asking about the estate of the late Sam Oliver. Obviously I didn’t die, but I can’t find out how it happened.

Oliver said in March 2021 that he had been hospitalized with COVID-19 for almost two weeks. About a month later, he went to Home Depot and used his credit card to buy a water heater. His card was declined. He didn’t think much of it until November, when he applied for another credit card and it was declined.

“I worked really hard to get good credit, so it was weird,” Oliver said. “A week later I received a letter in the mail from the bank that handles the credit card at the store and it tells me the reason why they refused me credit because the applicant is deceased.”

After receiving this letter, he received others. All saying he was dead. He called a credit reporting agency who told him that the Social Security Administration had listed him as dead.

“I called and went in person, and they finally gave me a letter saying it was a mistake and I didn’t die,” Oliver said. “They won’t tell me how it happened. Or who reported me dead. This caused me problems with my credit. My credit has dropped 100 points and all they can tell me is keep doing what I’m doing and it will go back up.

We contacted the Social Security Administration, but got no response. The letter they delivered to Oliver said they received death reports from many sources such as financial institutions and funeral homes. The letter does not say how they received the wrong information about his death.

Oliver advised everyone to keep checking their credit reports to make sure what happened to him didn’t happen to them.

“I really hope I’m the only one this is happening to because it’s not easy and it’s not fun,” Oliver said. “I’ve never had a problem with my credit before, but I’ve never been dead either.”

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