Protect Your Loved Ones Identity After Death

May 19, 2014

Protect Your Identity after Death

Lubbock, TX: Better Business Bureau® serving the South Plains of West Texas is warning families to protect the credit identity of loved ones after they have passed away. During this emotional time, families do not think about identity theft.

In a new study released by ID Analytics, about 2.5 million identities are stolen every year from victims who are deceased and incorrectly applied for credit products.

The study showed nearly 800,000 deceased Americans’ identities are deliberately targeted for misuse on applications for credit products and cell phone services by fraudsters each year. The study also showed in about 1.6 million applications each year, an identity schemer purposely used the Social Security number of a deceased person.

BBB offers the following guidelines to prevent identity theft of the deceased:

  • Obtain at least 12 copies of the official death certificate as soon as it becomes available. It may be possible to photocopy the original, but remember that death records are public and some organizations may ask for more proof.
  • If there is a surviving spouse or another sort of joint account holder, make sure to immediately let credit card companies, banks, stock brokers, loan/lien holders and mortgage companies of the know about the death.
  • The executor/surviving spouse will need to discuss any outstanding debts by either transferring or closing accounts.

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 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.

About BBB:
BBB of the South Plains, Inc. serves 18 counties of the Texas South Plains including Bailey, Borden, Cochran, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Kent, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Terry, and Yoakum. BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the pre-eminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

Serving the South Plains of West Texas
3333 66th St. Lubbock, TX 79413-5711 • 806.763.0459 • 1.800.687.7890 • 806.744.9748 fax • 1.866.728.3540 fax