Seniors are too often the victims of financial fraud but in recent cases, theft can even occur beyond the grave.
Identity theft after the death of a loved one is a growing concern across North America. “Ghosting”, using the identity of a deceased person to open credit card accounts, file false tax returns or take out loans, is a concerning trend.
In the United States, nearly 2.5 million deceased individuals have their identities stolen each year, according to a consumer protection alert from AARP.
Family members who share a bank account with the decease can be compromised as well so it’s important to take measures to protect the estate.
Steps to Protect the Estate:
- Don’t publish too many personal details in an obituary. Skip the date of birth, maiden name and home address.
- Notify banks and other financial institutions with a death certificate immediately.
- Notify all credit agencies – ask for a credit report to verify all accounts are closed and send a copy of death certificate to each.
- Check credit report in coming weeks and months to ensure all accounts are flagged as deceased. (do not issue credit)
- Report death to Old Age Security, Social Insurance and cancel driver’s license.
- Send all copies of death certificates by registered mail with a return receipt to ensure the certificates arrive as intended.
For more information about fraud or to report an incident visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm .
For more information about what to do following a death visit the Canadian Revenue Agency at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/lf-vnts/dth/menu-eng.html .