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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


When we head for the great beyond, the last thing on our mind is, will they steal my identity. Unfortunately, this last event in our lives is prime opportunity for the ID thieves. For those of us who leave behind a good credit record, we are top prospects for the crooks. I did a post on this several months ago, using the Social Security and Direct Marketing Assn. lists as examples of more in a series of databases where our private information could be vulnerable…even after we’ve passed on. At the same time, I cautioned those of you experiencing this kind of loss that although this is a time for bereavement, don’t forget to keep watch on the personal data of the deceased. MSNBC did a piece on the subject recently where numerous credit cards were fraudulently obtained; even a new car had been purchased. The pathway is from obituary to purchase of the deceased Social Security number, and the bad guys are on their way. The article states that 100 car loans amounting to $1.5 million have been acquired in this manner. It also gives three common-sense ways for prevention: 1) No details such as exact birth date, address in the obit; 2) Notify Social Security immediately; 3) Notify all three credit bureaus (listed in the article) with a copy of the death certificate. Surviving family members aren’t likely to be held responsible for these debts, but the time and money involved in straightening it out could be considerable. The Identity Theft Resource Center did a Fact Sheet May 1, 2007, with some excellent points on how to handle this kind of situation.

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