When family members pass away, there is a lot of things to consider and a lot of paperwork to complete. Sadly, in addition to all of the grief that accompanies a death of a loved one, there can also be additional grief that comes from the con artists who take advantage of the situation. As in life, identity theft is a concern in death. A deceased’s Social Security number can still be used as notification of a death may take some time for family members to accomplish.
Until banks, credit card companies, and other business are notified officially that someone has passed away, thieves have the opportunity to take an advantage of a situation they have read about in the local obituaries.
In order to help eliminate the chances of a thief’s handiwork, the family members will need to notify the Social Security Administration about the death. The SSA keeps on file the reported deaths as well as eligible benefits. If deaths are not reported promptly, con artists have good opportunity to open new credit accounts or use the social security number fraudulently for other purposes.
In addition to notification of the Social Security Administration, a deceased’s loved ones should also contain creditors about the death, to prevent not only theft, but issues with bill payments. A letter sent via Certified/Return Receipt US Mail is sufficient and should include the important information about the deceased.
A copy of the deceased’s death certificate will likely be required also. As soon as you get the death certificate, it is a good idea to make several copies to send to various creditors and other relevant businesses on behalf of the deceased. A sample letter is provided below:
Sample Letter To Notify Creditors of Death
September 19, 2009
Credit Card Company, Inc.
1234 Any Street
Anytown, US 12345
Re: Notification of Death – [Deceased’s Full Name]
Dear [Credit Card Company Name]:
This letter is to request that a formal death notice be added to the credit file of [Deceased Full Name]. Please find the enclosed copy of the deceased’s death certificate. I have also enclosed a copy of the legal document that proves my authority as the deceased’s executor (or surviving spouse if applicable).
Deceased’s Full Name:
Social Security Number:
Date of Birth:
Account Number: (if applicable)
Please contact me by phone at ###-###-#### or email XXX@xxxxx.com about any questions regarding this account.