Apparently, not even death can prevent identity theft. Thieves can take advantage of the deceased’s good credit, which can cause problems for the estate and the family for many years.
To protect yourself and your loved ones, take the following steps to avoid becoming a target:
* Don’t print the deceased’s month and date of birth in an obituary; simply list the person’s age at death.
* Contact the state department of motor vehicles to cancel the deceased’s driver’s license.
* Contact the Social Security Administration to cancel his or her Social Security number.
* Send a copy of the death certificate to all three credit-reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, in addition to all credit issuers, to close accounts.
* After a few weeks, request a copy of the deceased’s credit report to ensure that there has not been any activity.
Be alert when you go through the deceased’s mail, too, and shred any credit offers. You will probably need to make several copies of the individual’s death certificate to prove your claims. Find out if you need originals or if a copy will be satisfactory.
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