Do You Believe in Ghosts?

March 10, 2016 by Jake M.

We are familiar with the spooky ghost stories about previous residents that haunt places they once resided. This isn’t really the same thing as what I’m about to address, but the term “ghosting” has become a term more widely used among a certain group of victims.

There have been situations in which people find themselves asking questions like this, regarding  so-called “ghosting”:

“I can’t understand why my parents, who have been dead for a few years now, are still receiving mail in their name. Stuff like, credit card offers, junk mail, and all sorts of stuff. Can or will someone be able to steal their identities?” - Concerned family member

The haunting answer to that question is, yes. Can they have their identities stolen, of course. Just because they are receiving this type of mail though, doesn’t necessarily mean they will have it stolen.

I’m sure you are familiar with the crimes that are committed when a perpetrator reads obituaries only to rob the home of the deceased as loved ones are attending the funeral. It seems that once you are dead, it’s easier for people to pretend they are you. After all, you aren’t physically there to stop them. Not only that, most people don’t think about the fact their loved one’s identity can be stolen once they have passed away.

These 5 items are items you should take into account and check after your loved one has passed.

  1. See if the IRS has received a copy of the death certificate. The IRS believes that each year scammers and identity thieves steal the identities of over 2.5 million deceased Americans.

  2. Make sure copies of the death certificate were sent to the credit reporting agencies. Once that is done, make sure a “deceased alert” was placed on the individual’s report.

  3. If these things listed in 1 and 2 have been done, you also have the legal right to request the opting out of junk mail. Take care of that and it should stop coming.

  4. You can also try the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS). This will enable you to opt out of receiving unsolicited mail from national companies for up to 5 years.

  5. Get extra copies of the death certificate. 10-15 is a sufficient number for sending copies to creditors, banks, and other government agencies.

If you notice suspicious activity or see any evidence pointing towards fraud or theft on your family member’s account, notify the police immediately. Do not forget to notify every entity you can about the person’s death; better safe than sorry. Once something like ID theft happens, you will really feel like you are in a horror movie.

Check out more on familyresourcealliance for more information on how to improve your financial state, prevent theft, and make the most wise decisions that may come in your near future.