The recent data breach and identity theft at Target stores may be the hottest news right now, but there’s another type of identity theft that is happening all the time, but with a whole lot less media coverage. This new trend in identity theft – known as afterlife identity theft – is on the rise, with thieves scouring obituaries of the recently departed to steal personal information. When your loved one passes, it is important to quickly take action and notify government agencies and institutions and about the death to help prevent afterlife identity theft.
The National Funeral Directors Association provides a list of institutions you should contact right away, like government and credit reporting agencies, creditors, and banks, including:
- Social Security Administration
- Credit card and merchant card companies
- Banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions
- All three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
- Financial planners and stock brokers
- Pension providers
- Life insurers and annuity companies
- Mortgage companies and lenders
- Mutual benefit companies
- Health, medical and dental insurers
- Disability insurers
- Automotive insurer
- Veteran’s Administration (if the decedent formerly served in the military)
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service (military service retiree receiving benefits)
- Office of Personnel Management (if the decedent is a former federal civil service employee)
- U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (If the decedent was not a U.S. citizen)
- State Department of Motor Vehicles (If the decedent had a driver’s license)
- Any memberships held by the decedent (ex: health clubs, professional associations, clubs, library etc.)
The NFDA recommends that you first contact these entities by phone and follow up with a written confirmation, in which you would provide a certified copy of the death certificate, your loved one’s Social Security number and, if you are the personal representative of the estate, a copy of your letters of appointment. Many funeral homes provide notification services for you, so be sure to ask if that service is available to you.
If you would like to have some help dealing with the legal aspects of your loved one’s death, or to have a talk about protecting your loved ones through estate planning, call our office at (612) 206-3701 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.
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