Prevent ID Theft Of Dead Loved Ones

Identity thieves scour obituary pages to generate leads for their next victims.

Based just on a name, and an address, crooks can purchase parts of a deceased person’s information from other crooks. This bits can be used to open up new bank accounts, credit cards, get a Social Security card, or used as a mask to conduct further crime.

TODAY advises:

• Don’t include DOB , address, or where the person was born in obituaries
• Close all accounts as soon as possible
• Tell the Social Security Administration that the person is dead

Dealing with a close friend or family member’s death is already hard enough, but if you take the proper steps you can prevent further complication by preventing their exploitation by identity thieves. — BEN POPKEN

RELATED: HOW TO: Handle Closing Dead People’s Accounts


Edit Your Comment

  1. zolielo says:

    Social Security Death Index would make it too easy if I was evil… SSA should look into protecting the dead as well as the living. Costly but most likely a benefit to society on many levels.

  2. mindshadow says:

    So, uh, is it bad if I didn’t tell Social Security someone was dead? It totally slipped my mind.

  3. pestie says:

    @mindshadow: The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) lists the names, SSN’s and other information about (almost) everyone in the US who dies. Many companies use this as their only check to see if someone is dead or not. Being on the SSDI almost (not always!) guarantees a creditor wouldn’t issue credit, for example. So, yes, report it to the SSA ASAP.

  4. RulesLawyer says:

    Streaming video’s blocked at work, but once the estate is taken care of (a smart executor will close all accounts ASAP and create new “estate of” accounts), what’s the problem with a dead person’s identity being exploited? It’s not like they’re going to complain, and someone who issues credit to a deceased person is pretty much out of luck.

  5. Dabo says:

    This is a very morbid crime, no question, but who’s liable? In other words, if an impostor opens an account in the name of a dead person, who pays for those losses? Are the relatives of the departed held liable for those unauthorized charges/debts/accounts? Inquiring minds want to know…