Sample Letter To The Credit Bureaus Notifying Of Death


Identity Theft and the Deceased
Identity Theft Can Victimize the Dead
Tips for Consumers
Consumer Information Sheet 3C
June 2014
Identity thieves can strike even after death. An identity thief’s use of a deceased person’s Social
Security number may create problems for family members. This type of identity theft also victimizes
merchants, banks, and other businesses that provide goods and services to the thief.
What happens to your Social Security number after you die? The Social Security Administration
(SSA) maintains a national file of reported deaths for the purpose of paying appropriate benefits.
The file contains the following information: Social Security number, name, date of birth, date of
death, state of last known residence, and zip code of last lump sum payment.
The SSA generally areceives reports of death from a family member or a funeral home. Sometimes
delays in reporting can provide time for identity thieves to collect enough personal information to
open credit accounts or take other fraudulent actions using the deceased’s information. To prevent
this from happening, a surviving spouse or other authorized individual, such as an executor, can
notify the credit bureaus. This will ensure that the deceased’s files are flagged with a “deceased”
Signs of possible identity theft include calls from a creditor or collection agency on an account
opened or used in the deceased’s name after death. If you discover such signs, contact the affected
creditor or collection agency in writing, explaining that the account was opened or used fraudu-
lently. See sample letter attached.
Notifying the Social
Notifying the Credit Bureaus
Security Administration
To flag the credit files of a person who is de-
ceased, the surviving spouse or executor needs
In most cases, a funeral director will report the
to notify the three national credit bureaus in
person’s death to SSA. To ensure the death is
writing. The surviving spouse or executor must
reported promptly, a family member can make
include the following specific information
a report directly to an SSA representative by
along with the alert request: 1) a copy of death
calling SSA toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY
certificate, and 2) proof of executorship or mar-
1-800-325-0778), between the hours of 7:00
riage. Then mail the notification documents to
a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
the credit bureaus at the addresses listed on the
For more information, visit SSA online at
next page.
epartment of
Attorney General
Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
State of California


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