Identity Thieves Target the Deceased

| Total Words: 378

Identity thieves will stop at nothing not even the death of the intended victim when it comes to stealing someone’s personal information to commit fraud.

Crafty criminals look for personal details about the deceased in obituaries (in the newspaper or online), genealogy Web sites, death certificates and other sources. Armed with personal information such as a full name, address and date of birth an ID thief may be able to obtain a new Social Security card, a driver’s license, or loans and credit cards, even though the victim is no longer alive.

FDIC Consumer News suggests that families consider the following actions after a loved one dies:

Limit the amount of personal information in obituaries. “It’s a good idea to leave out the exact birth date of the deceased. If anything, provide only the birth year,” said David Nelson, a fraud specialist in the FDIC’s Financial Crimes Section.

Consider omitting a wife’s maiden name because many financial institutions use a mother’s maiden name as a security password. “If an obituary publicizes a woman’s maiden name and lists her children, an identity...

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