It seems the identities of the dead are not just stolen by those committing voter fraud. No, now identity thieves are stealing the identities of the dead to steal more than votes.
This problem was a topic of conversation over Independence Day this past weekend.
Fortunately, when my cousin Shannon brought it up, I already had read an article on the subject by 13WMAZ titled "Protecting the dead against ID theft."
According to the article, some 800,000 dead persons are targeted for identity theft annually and 1.6 million credit applications are made on the behalf of dead persons.
That is a lot of theft, friends.
So, what is the big deal? What can anyone do to someone who already is deceased?
That is not the problem, it is the grief it can inflict on the loved ones left behind.
The problem: the deceased cannot monitor their credit reports and thieves gamble that no one else is.
If no one checks the credit reports, then the credit bureaus do not learn that the person has passed away.
In turn, the credit bureaus cannot pass that information on to potential creditors.
Fortunately, there is a relatively easy solution to this problem.
The personal representative (also known as an executor) of the decedent's estate can and should send an original copy of a death certificate to all three major credit bureaus.
It is also a good idea to send an original death certificate to the deceased's known creditors and any financial institutions with which he or she had business.
Thereafter, the credit bureaus will mark credit reports appropriately and creditors will be on notice when thieves try to work their scams on the most vulnerable of marks - the dead.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: 13WMAZ (June 25, 2015) "Protecting the dead against ID theft."