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Protecting Passed Loved Ones from Identity Theft February 29, 2024

It is a sad commentary that the threat of identity theft doesn’t stop at death. In fact, identity theft is a growing problem for the families of the deceased. There are steps that can be taken, however, to minimize the risk of having the identity of a loved one who has passed stolen.

Minimize Obituary Content

The more details that are shared in a published obituary, the greater the opportunity for a loved one’s identity to be stolen. Educational degrees and data, service information, and even detailed employment and activities can all be clues to help an identity thief. You can create an obituary that honors the life of the deceased without putting their identity at risk.

Treat Death Certificates With Care

Following a loved one’s death, a legal death certificate can frequently be required. It can be too easy to order a number of certificates and make them too easily available, especially for the family. This can create problems. Protect death certificates like the valuable documents they are. Only give copies to or fax to trusted institutions.

Alert Credit Bureaus

Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus to let them know of the death and to get copies of their current status. You will also want to monitor reports, watching out for any newly issued credit cards or credit lines. Reach out immediately to them should you note any suspicious change. Have any requests for additional credit flagged, and
take note of any conversations should any disputes occur.

Manage Physical Mail

Stop, forward, or collect USPS-delivered mail frequently. Destroy any offers for credit cards or credit lines. Make sure the mail doesn’t accumulate.

Manage/Monitor Social Media and Email Accounts

It can be helpful to place one trusted family member in charge of the deceased’s email and social media accounts. Make sure personal details are limited online.

Cancel Subscriptions and Accounts

The threat of identity theft can be minimized by conducting a sweeping inventory of the deceased’s financial accounts, subscriptions, and auto payments. Each of these should be canceled or frozen as soon as possible to minimize any future unauthorized transactions. Don’t forget to include memberships, streaming services, cell phones, and more.

Keep in mind that care should be taken to protect a deceased’s identity from being stolen within the family. Treat private information carefully.

At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we help families with details both large and small. We would be honored to serve you. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can be of assistance to you.

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