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How can you protect the social security number of a loved one

Baltimore – When a loved one dies families think about a lot of things and thieves are hoping you don’t think about one thing: protecting your deceased loved ones identity.

Those looking to steal identities obtain information in various ways. They could simply read the obituaries or even steal death certificates.

When this happens families don’t find out until it’s too late, but there are steps to take to protect your loved ones identity when he or she passes on.

ID Protection Guide

These steps are recommended by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) for all deaths, regardless of age.

1.  Get at least 12 copies of the death certificate as soon as it becomes available. Some businesses will request an original death certificate.

2.  If there is a surviving spouse or other joint account holders, make sure to immediately notify relevant credit card companies, banks, stock brokers, loan/lien holders, and mortgage companies of the death. They may require a copy of the death certificate to do this, as well as permission from the survivor, or other authorized account holders.

3.  The executor or surviving spouse will need to discuss all outstanding debts and how they will be dealt with. You will need to transfer the account to another person or close the account. If you close the account, ask them to list it as: “Closed. Account holder is deceased.”

4.  Contact all credit issuers, collection agencies, and any other financial institution that need to know of the death using the required procedures for each one.

You should include the following information in all letters, which should be sent as certified mail:

—Name and SSN of deceased

—Last known address

—Last 5 years of addresses

—Date of birth

—Date of death

To speed up processing, include all requested documentation specific to that agency in the first letter.

ITRC also says famlies should request a copy of their loved ones credit report.

A review of the credit report will show any activity on the account that may still need to be closed.

Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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