How I Became An Official Zombie

How I Became

An Official Zombie


by Francis Turner © 2006

Back from the two week honeymoon in the Orkneys, still in wedded bliss, when I pick up the mail that arrived in our absence. As I divide the it into mine, wife's and junk I note to my annoyance that my letters are all being addressed to my old flat - so much for "trusted data sharing" and "single electronic records update". At least the Post Office managed the redirection - full privatisation and competition has really worked. I open the first letter, an official one from the NIR:

National
Identity Registry

1 July 2016


Dear Mr Patterson or heirs,

This is an automated informational letter, no response is necessary.

Your death has been reported.

Report submitted: 30/6/2016 23:47
Full Name: Patterson, Jeremy Lewis
Date of birth: 12/6/1983
NIR #: 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M
Date of death: 2/7/2016
Place of death: All Saints Church, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0QT
Cause of death: Other (Nished as a Pewt, Tying the Knot).

If case of error please contact the nearest identity status processing centre (see http://www.nir.gov.uk/offices/ispc/ to locate the centre closest to you) in the next five (5) working days with your ID card and valid doctor's certificate.  For security reasons we have notified your banks, employer of record and all government agencies of your death.



My mind spinning, and my mouth cursing my so-called best-man Kevin, I open the other letter from HMG - the one that will no doubt explain that the previous letter was sent in error

National
Identity Registry

4 July 2016

Dear Mr Patterson,

Your recent update to the National Identity Registry was rejected due to conflict with previous status.

On 30/6/2016 we were notified of your death on 2/7/2016.

On 4/7/2016 we received the erroneous notification that you  

  1. were married on 2/7/2016 to Woods, Helen R
  2. changed address to 41 Peony Ave, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 1AU

Note that due to ID fraud issues, death is an irrevocable act, attempting to update the records of a dead person is a crime under section 3 of the National Identity Act 2012. Contact the nearest identity status processing centre (see http://www.nir.gov.uk/offices/ispc/ to locate the centre closest to you) for rectification.


The wife thinks it's funny - she's rolling around laughing with tears coming out of her eyes and in between choking out how she wished she'd thought of doing the same thing to Fiona when she got married. Then she opens the NIR letter in her pile.

National
Identity Registry

4 July 2016

Dear Ms Woods,

Your recent update to the National Identity Registry was rejected due to its illegal nature.

On 4/7/2016 we received the erroneous notification that you  

  1. were married on 2/7/2016 to Patterson, Jeremy
  2. changed name to Patterson, Helen Rachel
  3. began sharing current residence with Patterson, Jeremy thereby modifying the occupant status for local government tax purposes.

The person whom you claim to have married (Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M) on 3/7/2016 was reported as deceased on 2/7/2016 and it is impossible to marry a corpse.

We understand that mistakes do occur and we look forward to your prompt rectification of this error. You are reminded that due to ID fraud issues, attempting to modify a relationship with a deceased person is a crime under section 3 of the National Identity Act 2012. Failure to contact the nearest identity status processing centre (see http://www.nir.gov.uk/offices/ispc/ to locate the centre closest to you) within five (5) working days of receipt of this notice may result in criminal proceedings against you.


It's Sunday July 17th. 5 working days was July 8th or maybe 11th. Definitely NOT July 18th. Anyway as the wife says we can't do anything until 9am tomorrow so we might as well relax and read the rest of the mail. The rest of my pile seems to be official correspondence from banks, phone companies etc. informing me that due to my death my accounts are suspended, terminated etc. And one from Kevin a.k.a. K Simmons of Simmons, Simmons and Ridley - Solicitors

Hi Jez (& Helen),

Thanks for a fab wedding. It was a genuine pleasure to see you married off, and not just because now I'm sure you won't be trying to pick up Fi. And Helen, if he does, you just show him whose boss OK!

Hope the Orkney's weren't too foul. God knows why you went there for a honeymoon anyway, still I guess you two didn't pay much attention to the weather so it probably didn't matter - must be those maternal scottish genes? Fiona and I wasted tons on that Seychelles resort for ours, we barely stirred out of the room, let alone used the "two Tiger Woods designed golf courses" or took the free reef diving course or anything else.

Give us a bell when you're back and we'll invite you round for dinner one evening - maybe once you've got the wedding photos?

Kev

PS Got a weird letter from your bank asking about your will and any heirs. Married life isn't so bad you're planning on topping yourself are you?


Bloody Kevin. He doesn't even remember typing in the fake death report after the stag night. Not that I'm 100% clear whose sodding idea it was to get the official paper for the fake but God they all thought it was hilarious to print out the certificate that Jez "partys on" Patterson was going to be dead to the world and partying no more and I have no clue which drunken moron amongst my friends clicked on "Send".

Spent a week getting things sorted out - or trying to - while assuring clients that reports of my death have been exaggerated and finishing up work for them. Kevin's been a star trying to help me but we're still in a mess. The only good news is that the police declined to arrest Helen when they showed up on Wednesday but the wonderful joined up government has frozen her bank account too since it is suspected of "potential fraudulent activity". Oh and Kev got this.

National
Identity Registry

21 July 2016

Dear Mr Simmons

re:    Death of Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M

Your explanation for the supposedly falsely reported death of your former client Mr Patterson has been noted.

We must bring to your attention the fact that the death report was incompletely filled with the following fields either omitted or invalid:


NHS practitioner name There is no Dr Death on the registry
NHS practitioner ID 666 is not a valid ID
Death certificate number Omitted
Location of death No Gallileo certified longitude/latitude supplied for "All Saints Church, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0QT"
Disposition of Corpse Omitted

Before we can proceed with the process of reversing this allegedly false report it must be correctly completed, please provide these details as quickly as possible. You are reminded that under section 4 of the National Identity Act 2012 it is an offence for a duly authorised professional to fail to provide these details in an accurate and timely manner.



While Kevin is pulling his hair out on this, both he and my parents receive another joyful missive - talk about cradle to grave government!

National
Identity Registry

22 July 2016

Dear Mr Simmons, Mr & Mrs Patterson

re:    Death of Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M

As designated executors of the deceased you are responsible for the burial or cremation of his corpse. To date no registered undertaker has notified the NIR that they are preparing the corpse and no final resting place has been designated. You are reminded that under the EU Health & Safety Regulations enacted as the Revised Health and Safety of Persons Act 2011 section 51 (Mortuaries, Undertakers, Funeral Homes and Graveyards) it is an offence for a corpse to be handled in an unhygienic manner, that is to say by anyone other than the certified employees of a registered institution, and an offence for the location of a corpse to remain unreported for greater than 48 hours.

We understand that the death of a loved one may be a traumatic event and hence we do not attempt to enforce the law to the letter, however Mr Patterson has been dead for three weeks. Please report immediately on the current location of the corpse and its designated final resting spot.


As if that weren't enough, despite the police clearing her, my wife gets this

National
Identity Registry
Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Division

25 July 2016

Dear Ms Woods

re:    ID fraud case 200160705-HRW. Alleged fraudulent marriage of
       Woods, Helen Rachel D.O.B 4/2/1985 NIR 25-7821-HRW-19850402-F
       Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M

Due to an oversight in our records processing your alleged husband's ID card was not invalidated at death, thus permitting you to falsely submit it at your "marriage". This oversight has now been corrected. [yes indeed it has - my ID card now causes readers to light up with big "INVALID" signs and flashing LEDs] The fact that your marriage certificate was correctly digitally signed by two ID cards does not make it a legally recognised marriage, nor is the NIR interested in photographic "evidence" that may be faked by anyone. Until your "husband" has been correctly identified and registered you remain legally single and a new marriage certificate digitally signed with his valid ID card will be required to change this. A copy of this letter and background case documentation has been passed to HM Inland Revenue and Customs to assist them with any investigation of attempted tax evasion they may wish to undertake.

Note you are ineligible for any state benefits or pensions such as widow's benefits and will remain ineligible while this investigation proceeds.


Another week of beating heads against officialdom gets nowhere. Then a bad situation becomes worse with a bunch of letters like this one arriving

Eastern Electricity - an EDF company

1 August 2016

Dear Ms Woods,

Our direct debit for the amount of £53.16 from your account was refused. Please contact our customer service representative on 0870-402-295* to arrange for an alternative payment method. If you are unable to pay then our customer service representatives will be able to guide you through an application for Housing Assistance benefits from the DSS and may at their discretion schedule a visit to install a pre-pay meter.

*Calls charged at £0.79/minute


Water, Communications, Mortgage all the same. Our bank accounts have been frozen because of alleged "fraud" so we can't pay for anything. Needless to say payments in still work but we have no way to withdraw the money. The bank manager, one of my stag night pals, not to mention someone Kevin and I have known since we all attended All Saints CofE primary school, is unable to release the hold on my account because that is done "centrally"and he has no discretion in cases where the hold is placed by a government agency. Fortunately he found a way to let Kevin withdraw some of my cash - he's allowed to let executors withdraw money for "funeral expenses"and "death related professional services" - so we're not totally skint but it's not a long term solution.

Finally some good news - I hope

Houses
of Parliament
Douglas Carswell
MP for Harwich & North Essex
Houses of Parliament, Westminster

2 August 2016

Dear Mr and Mrs Patterson,

I have read with alarm your story about Mr Patterson's official "death" and the subsequent bureaucratic nightmare that you have found yourselves in. I consider this to be a disgraceful example of the nanny state run wild, and, as you may have heard, I have raised this matter in a written question to the Home Office and as the subject of an early day motion to be debated as soon as the House resumes business after the summer.

I appreciate that neither of these  steps will provide immediate assistance, however I have also had private words with Sir James Browne, the Chief Undersecretary at the Home Office responsible for the NIR, and I trust that he will ensure that the NIR takes steps to resolve your status. Unfortunately he reminded me that many of the NIR staff take their holidays in August (as will I for two weeks August 6th-20th) so there may be more delay than one would wish. Should you encounter further problems please do not hesitate to contact my office in my absence as they are fully briefed on this affair.


and then a couple of days after a phone call from some senior whitehall mandarin

National
Identity Registry

4 August 2016

Dear Mr Patterson

re:    Erroneous Report of Death of Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M

This correspondence is to confirm in writing our recent verbal discussion. Firstly may I repeat my apology for the failure of our processing staff and procedures to catch what should have been an obviously fake report and for the consequences of that failure.

As agreed, we request that you come to the Colchester Identity Status Processing Centre (Colne Harbour) at 10:00 on Monday August 8th to have your identity fully regularized.

You will be issued with a new ID card and number which will then allow you to officially marry and to re-activate all your accounts. In the event that your partner accompanies you to the Colchester ISPC appointment your marriage may be registered and associated changes of name and address noted at the same time.

Finally I have personally confirmed that all current investigations for fraud or false reporting regarding this case have been closed with notations to the effect that they were caused by clerical errors at NIR.


The visit on Monday, which involved much bowing and scraping by NIR flunkies, resulted in my leaving with a nice shiny new ID card as well as an officially registered change of address for me, a change of name for Helen and a digitally signed marriage certificate for the two of us. Quite why they had to issue me with a new NIR number is beyond me though, still at least its all sorted out now. A final confirmation letter will no doubt show up shortly

National
Identity Registry
Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Division

9 August 2016

Dear Mr Patterson

re:    Creation of new registry entry and issue of ID Card for Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 64-1378-JLP-20160808-M

The fraud and identity theft prevention division has been notified about a number of suspicious entries on this registry entry. Your registry entry and associated ID card has been temporarily deactivated while our investigation proceeds. Please contact the nearest identity status processing centre (see http://www.nir.gov.uk/offices/ispc/ to locate the centre closest to you) for rectification.

The following items are considered suspicious:

For security reasons we have notified your banks, employer of record and all government agencies of the temporary deactivation of this registry entry.


I knew a new NIR number would be a mistake. Gaaargh! and other stronger words. Much grovelling from the bureaucrats at Colne Harbour when I called them. They say they will fix this. Of course the next day's mail produces this so maybe I didn't need to worry

National
Identity Registry
Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Division

10 August 2016

Dear Mr Patterson

re:    Creation of new registry entry and issue of ID Card for Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 64-1378-JLP-20160808-M

We apologise for the previous letter stating that your registry entry had been deactivated because of suspicious entries. We have investigated the conditions surrounding its creation and are pleased to inform you that the previous letter and the deactivation of your registry entry was the result of an automated validation scheme that has been overruled. Your entry has been reactivated and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused you.


Oh great a human somewhere! pity I'd already been on the horn to Colchester ISPC and given them a major bollocking.



Then on the following Monday we get two letters, one addressed to me and one to Helen from the NIR - this is mine, hers is identical

National
Identity Registry
Fraud and Identity Theft Prevention Division

12 August 2016

Dear Mr Patterson

re:    NIR Identity Status Processing Centre Colchester (Colne Harbour)

Due to suspicious activities surrounding the processing of a number of related identity status changes at the Colchester (Colne Harbour) ISPC earlier this week (August 8th - 12th) all updates performed by this office during this period have been marked as questionable pending investigation. This is a routine measure and you are being informed since you are one of the people who made identity status changes at the Colchester (Colne Harbour) ISPC during this period: There is no cause for alarm however you are advised that until the investigation is complete no changes made during this period will be recognised.


Back to official non-existence! I call the mandarin who grovelled so nicely before - resulting in the following

National
Identity Registry

16 August 2016

Dear Mr Patterson

re:    Erroneous Report of Death of Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 24-1348-JLP-19830612-M
       Creation of new registry entry and issue of ID Card for Patterson, Jeremy Lewis D.O.B 12/6/1983 NIR 64-1378-JLP-20160808-M

This correspondence is to confirm in writing our recent verbal discussion and to update it. Firstly may I repeat my apology for the failure of our fraud prevention division to realise that they had a flagged a false positive and for the consequences of that failure. As I explained the second suspension was due to the over zealousness of one of our fraud prevention algorithms which identified that the Colchester ISPC was behaving suspiciously. In the past we have seen that fraudsters have attempted to re-enter changes to records that they had recently updated and hence when the Colchester ISPC attempted to reenter your updates this activity was seen as suspicious.

It was intended that the FITPD would override this false positive and I am pleased to say that this is the case with regards to all other updates that were marked as questionable such as your wife's change of name. However I regret to report that we have now encountered a problem with your records, and your marriage, due to our earlier attempt to rectify the situation before issuing you with your new NIR number. As the initial marriage report and associated change of address was correctly signed by your original ID card, we had first attempted to simply delete the erroneous death report. Unfortunately this was only partially successful, because we have discovered that it is impossible to reactivate a NIR entry that has been marked as dead for more than one calendar month, but it did result in your marriage to your wife being validated under your original NIR number. Thus when Colchester registered your marriage under your new NIR number it was rejected since your wife had not reported a divorce or becoming a widow and hence was guilty of bigamy. Subsequent attempts to correct things have fallen foul of different anti-fraud tests and we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that we cannot at present provide you with an active NIR entry or ID card.

We hope that after a short period of time we will be able to rectify this state of affairs, however, due to holidays, we are encountering a certain difficulty in tracking down the correct programmers and system architects to fix their anti-fraud logic. In the meantime we have ensured that all relevant institutions and government agencies have been informed that you are neither dead nor suspected of any crime and that hence your accounts should therefore remain active despite the fact that your NIR entry is marked as deactivated/suspended.

Should you encounter any problems with any third party before we are able to reactivate your NIR entry please request that they contact the NIR with reference to FITPD case 160816-01. Rest assured that this case is receiving our highest attention.


Oh great I'm an official zombie! Not dead but not alive either.


Its been two years. Helen gave birth to Rachel Susan in April 2017 (Kev was right the 2 weeks in the Orkneys was indeed spent indoors) and we have another one on the way. Things still work (more or less) but every time we make a change I get letters like this

National
Identity Registry

4 April 2017

Dear Mr Patterson

re:    Birth of Patterson, Rachel Susan DOB 2/42017 NIR newly issued - NIR 65-6578-SHP-20160402
       FITPD case 160816-01

Thank you for drawing attention to open FITPD case 160816-01. We are pleased to confirm that Rachel Susan Patterson has been issued with the NIR number shown above and that she has been registered as your daughter. We apologise most sincerely for our continued inability to rectify the problem with your records but rest assured that this case is receiving our highest attention.



Want to know more see this post at my blog or visit the No2ID website

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin
Count shared with the Jyllands Posten cartoons