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SCAM ALERT: Scammers steal IDs of the deceased

Updated: Monday, April 28 2014, 11:21 PM CDT
Every year, nearly 2-and-a-half million Americans open credit cards and apply for loans, after they've died.
That's according to fraud prevention company, ID Analytics.
It's called "ghosting" and the information identity thieves need is easily accessible.

How do you protect your deceased family members?

Lindsey Reichheld, Fraud Victim
"This shouldn't fall on loved ones. There is not much I can do."

Lindsey says she felt helpless when her loved one's identity was stolen "after" her recent death.

Lindsey Reichheld, Fraud Victim
"It looked like somebody had been requesting death certificates and stealing those identities from the information on the death certificates.

Most death certificates contain the full names of parents of the deceased, their address and date of birth.

Lindsey Reichheld, Fraud Victim
"Anyone can walk in and they don't track it and I said 'really' and they said 'yes, it's public record.'"

For just $10 dollars, identity thieves can get a copy of any death certificate.

Brian Evans, US Postal Inspector
"Once they accessed that information on the death certificate they went to postal service filed out a change of address form and actually got the mail diverted from the deceased individual to their residence."

Everything scammers need to open credit cards and bank accounts.
 
Lindsey Reichheld, Fraud Victim
"It's a very devious and fairly smart way of stealing someone's identity because they are not there to care. Amy isn't going to get on the phone and say "I didn't open this credit card, what are you talking about?"

Postal inspectors say as soon as a death certificate is issued, copies should be sent to the credit bureaus.
Also, cancel the deceased persons driver license and don't give too many details in obituaries.SCAM ALERT: Scammers steal IDs of the deceased


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