A recent study by ID Analytics has found that ruthless identity thieves are robbing identities even from the grave. ID Analytics screens more than 1 billion credit applications annually. For this study, it reviewed 100 million applications filed during the first three months of 2011. The study revealed:
- Nearly 2.5 million deceased Americans have their identities improperly used to apply for credit each year.
- Nearly 800,000 deceased Americans' identities are INTENTIONALLY targeted for misuse.
- Fraudsters use the identities of the deceased at the rate of 2,000 per day.
While businesses can be victimized by extending credit to a deceased person, it can also be a problem for surviving family members who are left to manage the estates of their deceased loved ones. There is often a longer delay in discovering the identity theft of a deceased person, because no is checking his or her credit history. It can also be more difficult for a family member to correct the fraud since he has to prove he has authority to act for the deceased.
Reduce the Potential for Fraud!
Here are some tips for the family handling the estate:
- Request a credit report immediately after the loved one’s death
- Close all current credit cards and lines of credit
- Contact all three credits bureaus and request a notation be made on the report that the person is “deceased – do not issue credit”
- Freeze a credit report so no new credit inquiries can be made
- Black out the first five digits of the Social Security number on any death certificates provided to parties other than creditors
- Request another credit report one year after death to make sure there are no new accounts or requests for credit