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NOTIFYING FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Identity theft is the fastest growing white crime in America according to the Federal Trade Commission and unfortunately, the deceased are increasingly becoming a favorite target for these criminals.

The deceased are viewed by criminals as easy targets to perpetuate true name fraud. Information is easy to obtain via the obituary pages and genealogy sites.  Criminals also know that assuming the identity of a deceased person buys them more time to secure new credit cards and run up charges.  The time window for fraudulent activity is increased because no one is monitoring the red flags that would normally alert a living person to the theft of their own identity.

The real victims of this type of crime are not only the deceased, whose good names have been sullied, but the survivors of the deceased who are settling final affairs.  Identity theft can take up to two years to rectify and hundreds of dollars once it has started and it is up to the survivors to prove fraudulent charges are indeed fraudulent.  This comes at a time that is already emotional and stressful for the survivors.  The best way to combat identity theft is to never let it begin in the first place by taking the appropriate steps to protect the identity of a loved one.

Most funeral homes advise its customers to take the appropriate steps to protect the identity of a loved one including; canceling credit cards and joint accounts, notifying credit bureaus, notifying major marketing mail houses, etc.  It is a difficult and timely process.  One company that provides a quick, easy, and affordable service is Protectheir who specializes in identity theft prevention for deceased individuals. Click here for more information

The longer you delay the notification process, the more time criminals have to perpetuate the fraud. The federal government maintains a Death Master file to which most financial institutions subscribe, but it can take months for names to be reported and some never make the list.  By that time, a criminal may have opened several credit cards in the name of the deceased and rung up thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges.  The old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” rings especially true as it relates to identity theft.

Identity Theft information provided by