Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Identity Theft of the Deceased

M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013

Not even death can protect someone from having his or her identity stolen.  In fact, death may just make it easier.  Last week I attended an interesting seminar on identity theft, which generates over$20 billion in lost dollars a year.  Florida tops the list for offenders and my home state of Wisconsin ranks 31st, but not matter the state of residence it is an issue for surviving loved ones to consider.

According to the presenter, a representative from Wisconsin's Office of Privacy Protection, there are various types of identity theft.  There is the obvious, financial, where someone runs off with your funds or makes purchases under your name.  But there is also theft of a child's identity, often not uncovered until the child reaches age 18 and sets off into the world to discover someone has been using his or her SSN for years. There is medical identity theft, where a thief uses your medical insurance  And in the case of the deceased, a thief picks up where you left off.

For those tending to a deceased loved ones estate, the speaker offered the following tips:

  • file a final income tax form as soon as possible to prevent a thief from redirecting a refund to his or her address;
  • turn in a drivers license to the DMV;
  • property dispose of other ID cards and the SSN card;
  • contact all credit cards and other lending organizations and shut off the account
Please note, a blog post is not legal advice and should not be relied upon. Rather, it is a vehicle for education and discussion. You should contact a lawyer in your state for advice specific to your situation.  Thanks for reading.

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