Can you keep a loved one from becoming a fraud victim after death?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2024 | Consumer Fraud

The potential for identity theft doesn’t end when someone dies. In fact, a lot of people take advantage of a person’s death to steal their identity and commit fraud.

This can happen within days after a person dies, when loved ones may be shocked, grieving and worrying about a multitude of other things besides protecting the deceased person’s accounts, personal information and credit. These identity thieves are known as “ghosters.”

Freezing their credit

If a loved one has passed away, it’s crucial to freeze their credit as soon as possible. To initiate a credit freeze, you’ll need to notify all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experion and TransUnion) so that they can mark the person as deceased in their records. You’ll need to provide a copy of the death certificate as well as identifying information like their Social Security number.

It’s still important to monitor their accounts to help ensure that no unauthorized transactions are going through. It’s also crucial to notify any entities from which they’re getting Social Security, VA, Medicaid, pension and other benefits and to be sure they’re mail is being rerouted if necessary or at least looked at.

How else can you prevent identity theft and fraud?

Ghosters generally find out about deaths by combing obituaries. This is easier than ever now with sites like that anyone can access from anywhere. Unfortunately, people often unwittingly help them by including personal information about the deceased as well as their loved ones in their obituaries. This makes it easier to defraud both the deceased and their surviving loved ones.

In addition to freezing a loved one’s credit as quickly as possible, it’s important to monitor their credit reports for a time to help ensure that nothing has slipped through. This is also important to look at if you have people who claim to be creditors contacting you about debt that is supposedly owed to them.

If a deceased loved one has been the victim of identity theft or other fraud, or if you have, find out what you can do to fight back and safeguard your family’s rights. Getting experienced guidance can help.

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