Study: Even the dead aren’t safe from credit thieves

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Dear old Uncle Eddie may have gone to the great beyond but his credit lives on.

According to the data analysis company ID Analytics, the identities of more than 2,000 dead people are used by criminals and others every day to obtain loans, credit cards, or other financial services.

ID Analytics said each year 800,000 identities are purposely stolen from people known to be dead. Surprisingly, an additional 1.6 million such identities are unintentionally misused by people who accidentally put wrong information  on applications or who make up information.

The company arrived at its data by comparing the Social Security Administration’s “death master file” with the names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers on 100 million credit applications from January through March of last year, according to chief technology officer Stephen Coggeshall.

The fraud can lead to financial strain on the estates of the dearly departed, leaving loved ones to deal with bills that Uncle Eddie had no hand in running up.

ID Analytics suggests family members get periodic credit reports on deceased relatives to monitor any activity. This might require getting a death certificate and some other proof of relationship. Also, ask credit reporting agencies to put a “deceased – do not issue credit” notice on the relative’s file.

Has this ever happened in your relative?

3 comments Add your comment

Mark Twain

April 25th, 2012
2:38 pm

No but I know it happens since I worked in the credit industry. One problem is relatives stealing identities of relatives.

Love to Spend

April 25th, 2012
2:44 pm

Received notice in the last 2-3 weeks of an uncle’s info having been used… and he’s been dead for 5 or 6 years now… sad thing is, we think it is his own son using the ss # and such.


April 25th, 2012
3:23 pm

The year my son died I filed a tax return and found out someone had already filed a bogus one requesting a very large refund, Thankfully for me I called the IRS to check the status and we stopped the bogus return from being processed.

I truly believe it was someone within the state of GA where the death certificates were processed.