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It is said that there are five stages of grief following the death of a family member or close friend: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult. Tying up the deceased’s loose ends can prolong the grieving process because it keeps the reality of the situation at the forefront of your mind. However, the reality is that there are people who will look to take advantage of a death. Avoiding posthumous identity theft is something that the ones left behind must make  a priority.

What Is Posthumous Identity Theft?

When someone dies, their information doesn’t go away. This information can be stolen and used to apply for credit or loans. Criminals can also use this information to file fraudulent tax returns in order to receive the refund.

How Is The Deceased’s Information Obtained?

Experienced criminals can browse obituaries, hospital records or funeral home schedules to learn of new deaths. Public records often include much of the personal information needed to follow through with posthumous identity theft. You must insure that the deceased person’s information is protected.

Tips To Avoid Posthumous Identity Theft

  • Often the first item of business will be writing the obituary for a loved one. We advise you not to post any personal information, such as the deceased’s birthdate or exact date of death, middle name, maiden names or relatives’ names.
  • Immediately record the death in the National Death Registry.
  • Obtain multiple original death certificates (10-12 is a good starting point) to use in the reporting of the death to the proper outlets.
  • Next, placing a credit freeze on the deceased’s credit file with the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) is a wise decision. They will be able to flag the file as ‘deceased’.
  • All physical documents should be kept under lock and key.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration, all financial institutions, and insurance companies to report the death.

Losing a loved one is something that no one wants to think about, much less go through. It is important to be prepared when the situation inevitably arises. Avoiding posthumous identity theft will give you the peace of mind to know that your loved one’s information is protected.

A Free Guide on How To Secure Your Identity & Protect Your Data