Today's Grave Robbers: Identity Theft and the Deceased

The time period “grave robbing” used to confer with the appalling act wherein thieves would dig up graves and steal a deceased particular person’s physique and/or belongings. Right this moment that time period has taken on a brand new definition that isn’t solely atrocious; it’s also turning into an alarming development. Over the previous few years the variety of id theft instances involving the deceased has grown exponentially. Id thieves know members of the family are too busy mourning the lack of a liked one to fret about defending his or her id. In any case, who would assume to guard the id of a liked one who’s deceased?It’s estimated that over 2.5 million deceased People change into victims of id theft annually. Id thieves can get loans, acquire bank cards, and even apply for jobs beneath these stolen identities. About 800,000 deceased individuals are intentionally targeted–meaning the thieves know the particular person has handed away. That is a stunning 2,200 individuals day-after-day. Whereas the debt quantities and numbers of instances discovered by authorities are astounding, the trouble and stress related to recovering a deceased particular person’s id and resolving these money owed is damaging sufficient. Fortunately, there are methods members of the family can stop id theft and luxuriate in a bit of peace-of-mind.Notify the Proper Individuals

The three credit score reporting agencies–TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax–can take as much as six months to acknowledge that an individual has handed away. That is prime time for id thieves to take motion, they usually can do an amazing quantity of harm on this timeframe. When a liked one dies, members of the family ought to instantly notify all businesses and authorities relatively than look forward to them to obtain phrase on their very own. This may be completed by:

• Sending a dying certificates to every of the credit score reporting businesses. Solely official copies are accepted, so it is suggested that members of the family acquire not less than a dozen copies.• Requesting an alert on the deceased’s credit score report that states “Deceased. Do not issue credit.” It will stop new accounts from being opened.• Sending a dying certificates to any bank card corporations, monetary establishments, and even assortment businesses the place the deceased might maintain accounts.• Notifying the DMV and canceling the deceased’s driver’s license so an id thief can’t change the tackle and use the license to commit fraud.• Sending a dying certificates and reporting the dying to the Social Safety Administration. An individual’s Social Safety quantity is without doubt one of the most essential items of knowledge used to steal an id.• Contacting the financial institution to setup a credit score freeze so id thieves can’t open new accounts.Members of the family ought to ship all correspondence through licensed mail and preserve copies of their correspondence as properly. They will additionally stop id theft by shredding paperwork containing the deceased’s private data earlier than discarding them.ObituariesIdentity thieves typically scan native obituaries on the lookout for their subsequent victims. Households can stop making their liked one a goal by omitting any precious private data, similar to date of start, birthplace, partner’s title, tackle, and maiden title.Assessment Credit score ReportsThe executor of a deceased particular person’s property or his surviving partner might request a replica of his credit score report from every of the credit score reporting businesses. Members of the family ought to look at the credit score stories rigorously and see if any suspicious activity–such as new bank card accounts or credit score inquiries–have been made. Credit score stories needs to be pulled instantly after dying after which once more a couple of months later.These are among the most essential methods a member of the family of a deceased particular person might help stop id theft. Since these points could be overwhelming, particularly within the days and weeks following a liked one’s dying, it is typically finest to hunt out skilled help.