An unfortunate growing trend is for identity thieves to target the identities of deceased individuals. The thieves use the deceased individual’s information to obtain credit cards, loans, tax refunds and other fraudulent activity. This activity can add to the heartbreak for a grieving family.
To protect a deceased loved one’s identity, the family and executors may consider the following actions:
- Avoid revealing personal information to the extent possible. Addresses, dates of birth, maiden’s name and social security numbers should remain private. Limit some of this information on social media sites and in obituaries.
- Close all credit accounts such as loans and credit cards.
- Contact all banks, investment companies and lenders regarding a death.
- Contact the three credit bureaus–Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to request that a deceased alert be placed on the credit report.
- Notify other agencies when you believe it is necessary such as the IRS, Department of Revenue and Division of Motor Vehicles.
If you see suspicious activity regarding a person’s private identity information, contact the police.