Four Ways to Prevent Identity Theft from a Decedent

By: Christopher S. Morden
May 15, 2014

Every two seconds, an American becomes the victim of identity fraud according to a February 6, 2014 article by CNN Money. While most people seem to understand the need to protect themselves from identity theft, few family members or personal representatives take steps to protect the identity of a deceased individual. Below are four ways to prevent the theft of a decedent’s identity:

1) Cancel the decedent’s credit and charge accounts.

2) Send copies of the decedent’s death certificate to the three credit reporting bureaus (see information below on how to do this).

3) Obtain free credit reports from the three credit reporting bureaus to ensure there has been no post-death activity (see information below on how to do this).

4) Cancel the decedent’s driver’s license and ask the Department of Motor Vehicles to refuse requests for duplicates.

Identity thieves may obtain information about deceased individuals (including social security numbers, family information, and financial information) from a variety of sources. By implementing the steps listed above, family members and personal representatives may dramatically decrease the chances of a decedent’s identity theft.

For more information on this topic, contact information for the credit reporting bureaus, and sample forms to use when notifying the credit reporting bureaus, visit the Identity Theft Resource Center’s website at Sheets/fs 117.html