The Dead Are Now Having Their Identities Stolen
Most people are aware that they need to protect their identity from being stolen. Some are even aware that they need to protect their children’s identity from being stolen. But what most people do not realize is that their deceased loved ones could be at risk for identity theft as well.
It seems strange; someone who has already passed can have their identity stolen. It seems as though there is no limit to what these thieves are willing to do. After all these people are dead, they should be left alone; their families should not have to worry about their identity still. It is the sad reality of the times though, not even the dead are safe from identity theft.
It is happening all over the country. People are dead and having their identity stolen. What do you do when a loved one who has passed away has their identity stolen? Another question is how are they even getting the information on the dead?
The United States government has a list called the Death Master File. This is a list kept by the social security office in the attempt to keep track of everyone’s birth and death. The law has deemed this list as public information despite the fact that it has sensitive information. Why would the government be willing to do this? There is a possibility that the government did not realize that by making this list public they are giving those who commit identity theft and fraud another way to get information to do so.
It turns out that it is not the government itself that is releasing this list. The government sells this list to hospitals, local governments, pension funds, and even private companies. It is then some of those that have purchased this list that turn around and put the list they bought online. It is legal to do this, only because the list is considered a public document and therefore whoever purchases it can do with it what they like.
This easy internet access to this list has made identity theft much easier for many. They can get all the information they need to steal the deceased person’s identity from that list. They can take more than one person’s information at a time, and whenever they need a new person’s identity, they can find it right there on that list. This makes it easier than ever to steal someone’s identity.
It is the family of the deceased individual who must keep track of their loved one’s identity. There are many websites and companies that will monitor your credit for a fee. It is a good idea to sign up for these services not only for you, but for your family members who have passed on. When your loved one passes any remaining debt is taken out of the estate and what is left after that is left for the family to take care of, if the deceased person’s identity is stolen, the remaining family members may be held responsible for cleaning up the mess.
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