Experts say that committing identity theft against a deceased person is a relatively easy crime due to the fact that the deceased are easy victims who can’t fight back. However, there are a several relatively simple things that you can do to help prevent your loved one from becoming a victim of identity theft. Taking these precautions now may save you many headaches or nightmares down the road. Here are some tips recommended by experts and your trusted funeral service in Chicago, IL:
- Contact government agencies: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends sending them a Certified Copy of your loved one’s Death Certificate so they can flag the account that your loved one is deceased. In addition, you may need to contact the Social Security Administration for matters regarding spousal or dependent benefits.
- Notify credit reporting agencies: Experts also recommend that you send a letter and Certified Copies of the Death Certificate to each of the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), asking them to place a “Deceased Alert” on your loved one’s account.
- Inform banks and lenders: You may find it necessary to send a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate to each institution where your loved one may have held an account, including banks, credit unions, securities brokerages, auto loan lenders, credit card companies, mortgage or HELOC lenders, etc. You may also need to confer with your estate attorney as to how and when to close each account.
- Contact utility companies: If your loved one had utility services in their name, you may wish to have those accounts transferred into your name to avoid having criminals commit fraud on those accounts. Some of these utilities may include electric service, natural gas service, water and sewer services, landline and/or cellular telephone services, Internet service, home security monitoring service and cable or satellite television service.
- Handle papers carefully: Crime prevention experts recommend that you treat all of your loved one’s personal information with care. For example, if you need to throw out any documents with your loved one’s name, Social Security number, address, date of birth, account numbers or other “pedigree” information, be sure to securely shred this information. “Dumpster diving,” or looking for personal data in the trash, is a low-tech way in which many criminals obtain the information needed to commit identity theft.
These are just a few of the avenues by which identity theft may occur. Even if you’ve taken the proper precautions, it’s still a good idea to be vigilant following a loved one’s death in order to prevent identity theft from occurring, as well as to put a quick stop to any potentially suspicious activity. Getting a copy of your loved one’s credit reporting in the weeks or months after their passing is one effective way to ensure no fraudulent activity is taking place.
If you believe that your loved one has become a victim of identity theft, notify law enforcement right away. Whether it’s committed against a living person or a deceased person, identity theft is a crime, and it should be reported.
For more information about identity theft or for assistance with arranging a funeral service in Chicago, IL for your loved one, pleased reach out to Marik-Baken Funeral Services Ltd. today.
Categorised in: Funeral Service
This post was written by Writer