Identity theft and your loved ones
That’s right - Death cannot even save some people from being violated by the crime of identity theft. Some horrible examples of this fact are:
It is so sad, but even those who have passed away are not safe from identity thieves.
Obtaining information about deceased individuals is not all that difficult, and it can be accomplished in various ways. Watching obituaries may give the thief a target, and then stealing the death certificate of the deceased or getting information about the deceased can complete the identity theft. Many identity thefts which are perpetrated on the deceased can be linked back to websites that have a Social Security Death Index file. Although only to be used for genealogy research, they can also be used to find information to take someone’s identity.
Unfortunately, it has been shown that the thief can easily be a family member who is taking advantage of a death. Sometimes that family member has been using the other identity for a while before the death, especially if the person who’s identity was stolen had suffered from a long, debilitating illness, or had some form of mental confusion.
Don’t count on the Social Security Administration to inform the financial
industry of a death through its Death Master File. Even to this day, that
file is not complete! That means it is up to you to notify the three major
credit reporting agencies and any creditors of the person’s death. Until
they are notified, they keep the accounts open…and they will remain open
for as long as 10 years, even with no activity! Those performing the identity
theft count on this fact and take advantage of it if they can.