When a loved one dies, often family members need to obtain a credit report to find out what debts are outstanding, what accounts are still open and need to be closed, and to verify there has been no identity theft. Decedents are often targeted as victims of identity theft. Scam artists track the obituaries in the newspapers, steal death certificates, or obtain identity information on online. They open up new credit cards or run up charges on exisiting accounts. Identity thieves even steal information and sell it to another scam artist, sometimes across the country, to avoid detection. It can take months before a family of the decedent becomes aware of the fraud.
You can obtain a credit report on someone who has died by writing to the three big credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Inform them of the death with the decedent’s full name, social security number, address, and date of death. Include a copy of the death certificate and your name and relation to the decedent. Ask for a current copy of the decedent’s credit report and that a notice such as “Deceased – Do not Issue Credit” be put in the file. You may also want to request that any suspicious activity be reported to you. Send the letter certified mail.
You can also print out a thorough form from the Identiy Theft Resource Center
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult. You don’t need the added headaches of identity theft. If we can help with the death of a loved one, call us. We handle probate and trust administration and can assist with the legal process of administering a will or a trust or the probate of an individual without a will.