How to Reduce the Risk of
Identity Theft When a Loved One Dies
A new trend in identity theft - afterlife identity theft - is on the rise, with thieves scouring obituaries for personal information to steal the identities of those who have passed. When you lose a loved one, it is important to take quick action and notify a number of institutions and government agencies about the death to help prevent afterlife identity theft.
The National Funeral Directors Association provides a list of government and credit reporting agencies, creditors and banks for notification, including:
● Social Security Administration
● Veteran's Administration (formerly served in the military)
● Defense Finance and Accounting Service (military retiree benefits)
● Office of Personnel Management (former civil service employee)
● U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (decedent was not a US citizen)
● State Department of Motor Vehicles (decedent had a driver's license)
● Credit card and merchant card companies
● Banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions
● Mortgage companies and lenders
● Financial planners and stock brokers
● Pension providers
● Life insurers and annuity companies
● Health, medical and dental insurers
● Disability insurers
● Automotive insurer
● Mutual benefit companies
● All 3 credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
● Any memberships held by the decedent (clubs, associations, etc.)
The NFDA recommends that you notify these entities first by phone followed by a written confirmation, where you will need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate, the decedent's Social Security number and, if you are the executor or administrator of an estate, the verification of your appointment by a probate court. Be sure to ask the funeral home you are using if they can provide notification services for you, as many do.
If you would like to have a talk about protecting your loved ones through estate planning, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $500 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I've made space for the balance of the month of August for you to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.