The study compared the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers on 100 million applications during the first three months of 2011 to data in the Social Security Administration's Death Master File to find which applications used personally identifiable information associated with deceased individuals.
The study found:
When a loved one passes away families do not have identity theft on their mind. It is a difficult to think about identity safety at such an emotional time; adding one more thing to an already long list of difficult jobs to do at that time.
BBB offers the following guidelines to prevent identity theft of the deceased of any age:
Contact all financial institutions that may need to be informed of the death and make sure to follow the correct guidelines.
Generally, it is best to send all important information in a letter to the agency—sent via certified mail with return receipt requested, as this will speed up processing. Include name and Social Security number of deceased as well as last known address, last five years of addresses, date of birth, date of death.
Request copies of the decedent’s credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. The reports will show any remaining active accounts that still need to be closed and ask an alert be placed on the name to tell potential creditors to not issue any new credit.
BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.