After a death, guard against ID theft
Informing the 3 major credit bureaus about a death in the family can help prevent identity theft.
Reader Kim e-mailed me a few weeks ago with a question I've, thankfully, never had to deal with. Following the death of her mother, Kim was wondering if she should report the death to the credit bureaus.
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She has already paid off and closed all credit accounts and by all accounts things are settled. Her lawyer didn't know the answer so she thought maybe I did.
My gut reaction was that you should notify them, and any other similar organizations, to prevent identity theft and fraud.By placing a "deceased alert" on the credit report, any potential creditors or lenders will learn, upon pulling the report, that the person is deceased and should not be extended credit.
Only relatives of the deceased can request this. I don't see any reason why you wouldn't want to do this.
How to submit a deceased alert
According to the credit bureaus, you will need to write a letter that includes:
- Language notifying the bureau that the person referenced is deceased and that a deceased alert should be placed on the report.
- Decedent's full name.
- Social Security number.
- Recent address.
- Date of birth.
- Date of death.
- Copy of the death certificate.
Mail this request by certified mail with return receipt requested to each of the addresses below:
Equifax Information Services LLC
Office of Consumer Affairs
P.O. Box 150139
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 9701
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834
It's a difficult time to begin with. Don't make it harder by allowing identity theft to occur.
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