By Michael G. Kelly, Attorney at Law
Kelly Law and Tax
For a loved one after death to become a victim of identity theft is the last thing any of us would ever expect to happen. Unfortunately it is a regular occurrence. There are some very important steps we all can take to prevent this from happening:
- Do not include the birth date, last address or most recent job in the deceased loved one’s obituary.
- Make sure someone is in the deceased loved one’s home during the published visitation and funeral times, to prevent a burglary/ theft of documents with sensitive personal information.
- Make sure each of the credit reporting bureaus gets a copy of the death certificate and ask each to add a “deceased alert,” which will freeze the credit file.
Equifax: PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian: PO Box 9701, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion: PO Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022
- About one month after the loved one’s death, review your loved one’s credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com to ensure there is no suspicious activity. You may want to do this once a month for one year after the death since it takes that long for an account with a deceased notation to be removed from a credit report.
- Make sure that your funeral director has notified Social Security about the death of your loved one. You may also want to advise the IRS by calling 800-829-1040 to prevent someone from filing a tax return and claiming a refund in the name of the deceased loved one.
- Be sure to keep copies of any documentation you provide to these agencies, just in case a follow-up is needed