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Avoid Identity Theft from Obituaries

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Avoid Identity Theft from Obituaries

However distasteful this topic may be, and believe me, it’s not a very nice thing to have to talk about, the dead are an irresistible target for identity thieves. Losing a loved one leaves the whole family in a very vulnerable position, your emotions are pretty raw and it’s certainly not a time when thinking straight comes into it much, but it’s really important that you’re not conned by someone and unwittingly helping them to steal the identity of the deceased. This could end up costing the rest of the family very dearly indeed, both in money and further heartache.

Avoid Identity Theft from Obituaries

Just take a look at these few tips to help prevent you and your family becoming the victims of identity theft from obituaries.

Identity thieves will regularly scan the obituary columns of the local newspaper to see if there’s any valuable information they can use to help gain access to personal credit or bank accounts (this can be particularly painful for joint bank account holders, the ones who are left behind really pay the price). Long obituaries with lots of useful information can help these thieves in their despicable task. Deceased people don’t have to think about credit ratings and suchlike, but the family left behind can be caused extra emotional stress. Identity thieves may want to avoid their own financial problems, avoid immigration, avoid legal problems . . . there are many different reasons why these people might want to steal anothers identity. Here are a few ideas of how you can safeguard your family from becoming the victims of identity theft:

  • Close bank accounts, credit cards etc about the deceased passing before the obituary is published, if at all possible. This is one thing which can really stop them in their tracks.
  • Contact social security before the obituary is published, to deactivate their social security number.
  • Contact Experian, Trans Union and Equifax before the obituary is published.

If You Suspect Identity Theft

If you do suspect that something untoward is happening and you notice unusual activity in the accounts of the deceased, then it’s pretty safe to say that some kind of identity theft is going on. You must follow these steps as soon as you have even the faintest notion of it:

  • Get in touch with the police and tell them of your suspicions
  • Get in touch with the bank and ask them to freeze the accounts
  • Get in touch with the credit report agencies

The police, bank and credit report agencies will all help you with different ideas of how to keep the identity safe. Writing an obituary is a difficult enough task without having the added pressure of identity thieves lurking by . . . get the financial stuff in order first and you’ll be taking an important step into stopping them.

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