The very real possibility of identity theft after death
Life after death is uncertain, but identity theft is almost inevitable.
Every year in the United States, there are 2.5 million credit card accounts opened under deceased names. It’s grim to think about, but what are you doing to identity proof yourself after you’re gone?
If I’m gone, why should I worry about identity theft?
Any money you’ve willed to your loved ones could disappear if your accounts were to be stolen. The last thing you’d want your loved ones to do after you’re gone is figuring out who has stolen your identity. The ordeal could start to be both an emotional and financial burden on them that you won’t be able to help them with.
First step: Talk to your spouse or family about securing your identity
It might sound like a weird topic to bring up, but by simply having this conversation with someone you trust, you can rest easy knowing they’ll take care of your identity when you’re gone.
A recent blog from AARP does a great job of showing what your loved one needs to do to secure your identity.
- If your loved one’s passing is in an obituary, don’t have their date of birth or mother’s maiden name published.
- Send copies of your death certificate to credit bureaus, banks, insurers, brokerages, credit card and mortgage companies (essentially wherever the deceased held accounts).
- Call Social Security to report your loved one’s death.
- Call the DMV to cancel the deceased’s driver’s license.
- After a month, check your loved one’s credit report to see if there are any changes.
It’s understandable to feel annoyed with having to deal with identity verification after you’re gone, but if you want your loved ones to spend more time cherishing memories and less time dealing with identity theft, then it’s important to discuss how to protect your identity after you pass.