Protecting Your Legacy: Preventing Identity Theft After DeathAug 02, 2023
by D.S. Moss
Losing a loved one is an emotional and challenging time, and the last thing anyone wants to think about is the possibility of their identity being stolen. However, identity theft of deceased individuals, often referred to as ghosting, is a distressingly common occurrence. According to the IRS, approximately 800,000 deceased Americans fall victim to identity theft each year. In this blog post, we will explore some essential tips and preventive measures to safeguard your legacy and prevent identity theft after you pass away.
Notify Relevant Parties: One of the first steps in preventing identity theft after death is to inform the necessary parties of your loved one's passing. Start by sending copies of the death certificate to financial institutions, credit agencies, government agencies, and any other relevant organizations. This helps in flagging the deceased's accounts and prevents fraudulent activity.
Secure Important Documents: Keep important identification documents such as driver's licenses, passports, and social security cards securely stored or destroyed after the passing of a loved one. Fraudsters can exploit these documents to carry out identity theft. Consider contacting the appropriate authorities to cancel or request the cancellation of these identity documents.
Monitor Obituaries and Death Certificates: Identity thieves often prey on obituaries and death certificates to obtain personal information about the deceased. Be cautious about the amount of personal information shared in public obituaries and consider requesting a restricted version not disclosing sensitive details. Ensure that death certificates are securely stored to prevent unauthorized access.
Enlist Professional Help: Consider utilizing professional services that specialize in protecting the deceased's identity. These services can help with removing the deceased's name from marketing lists, monitoring credit reports, and providing additional layers of security to prevent identity theft.
Educate Family Members: Inform your family members and loved ones about the risks of identity theft after death. Encourage them to be vigilant and take necessary precautions, such as not sharing personal information about the deceased publicly and being cautious of unsolicited contact or requests for sensitive information.
Seek Legal Guidance: Consulting an attorney experienced in estate planning and probate can provide valuable insight into protecting the deceased's identity and assets. They can help navigate the legal processes involved in closing accounts, distributing assets, and safeguarding personal information.
Preventing identity theft after death requires proactive measures and a comprehensive approach. By promptly notifying relevant parties, securing important documents, and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of your loved one's identity being exploited. Remember, seeking professional advice and educating your family members about the importance of safeguarding personal information are crucial steps in protecting your legacy and preventing identity theft after you pass away.
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