Identity theft has become a common danger as scammers have become more and more adept at stealing and using their victim’s personal information to steal money, claim benefits, and establish fraudulent credit accounts. Unfortunately, this activity does not stop after and individual has passed away. In fact, many identity thieves target the recently deceased because they believe their illegal activity will be less likely to be caught as quickly. In fact, many identity thieves scour obituaries in order to find their next victim.
Naturally, a deceased person cannot open a line of credit. However, if the credit agencies do not know that an individual has passed they may approve an application for credit without realizing that it is a case of identity theft. This can add more work to the already daunting task of settling a decedent’s estate as it can take hours to clear up fraudulent credit claims. Therefore, it is important to close all credit lines in a deceased person’s name and notify the credit agencies of the person’s death.
Notifying the credit agencies that a person has died is fairly easy to do. All three of the major credit agencies share information on death notices. Therefore, only one of the credit agencies needs to be notified and they will contact the others. All the credit rating agencies need to freeze someone’s account after their death is the person’s name, Social Security number, and date of birth along with an original death certificate.