A new trend in identity theft – afterlife identity theft – is on the rise, with thieves scouring obituaries for personal information to steal the identities of those who have passed. When you lose a loved one, it is important to take quick action and notify a number of institutions and government agencies about the death to help prevent afterlife identity theft.
The National Funeral Directors Association provides a list of government and credit reporting agencies, creditors and banks for notification, including:
- Social Security Administration
- Veteran’s Administration (if the decedent formerly served in the military)
- Defense Finance and Accounting Service (military service retiree receiving benefits)
- Office of Personnel Management (if the decedent is a former federal civil service employee)
- U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (If the decedent was not a U.S. citizen)
- State Department of Motor Vehicles (If the decedent had a driver’s license)
- Credit card and merchant card companies
- Banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions
- Mortgage companies and lenders
- Financial planners and stock brokers
- Pension providers
- Life insurers and annuity companies
- Health, medical and dental insurers
- Disability insurers
- Automotive insurer
- Mutual benefit companies
- All three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
- Any memberships held by the decedent (ex: health clubs, professional associations, clubs, library etc.)
The NFDA recommends that you notify these entities first by phone followed by a written confirmation, where you will need to provide a certified copy of the death certificate, the decedent’s Social Security number and, if you are the executor or administrator of an estate, the verification of your appointment by a probate court.
Be sure to ask the funeral home you are using if they can provide notification services for you, as many do.
A Note from the Attorney, Stan Pierchoski:
The practice of law is a second career for me. After obtaining Master of Science degrees in both Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering, I worked in the Nuclear Power Industry for 15 years. Always having an interest in law, I attended and graduated from law school and founded the Pierchoski Law Firm in 2002 in Pulaski, TN. For several years I practiced as a criminal defense, trial attorney. After my parents passed I became interested in Trust and Estate Law and felt a strong calling to change my practice to the Estate Planning area.
For years I have been exclusively doing trust writing and wealth planning and have become proficient at it. Over the last several years my practice has evolved to serve all age groups including elders and Medicaid Planning. I am always open to your questions and am more than happy to chat with you about your concerns so give me a call or stop by my office. You’ll be glad you did!