Decedent Support Information
What kind of coverage will the membership offer to someone who is deceased?
With this enrollment we will provide you, their legal representative, resolution assistance should they fall victim to fraudulent activity. The protection services apply to their identity, but the membership is truly there to support you if something were to happen.
Why can’t I activate/authenticate the monitoring product for a deceased individual?
In most cases, decedents cannot be authenticated because the Social Security Administration or their legal representative (spouse, child, etc.) has already notified the credit bureaus that the person is deceased. If the credit bureaus have “frozen” the decedent’s credit files, the risk of identity theft has been significantly reduced.
Please know that the membership still provides recovery services to support you, their legal representative, if something was to happen; which is the real and true value.
Is it possible to steal a deceased person’s identity?
Unfortunately, it is possible to steal the identity of someone who is deceased. Identity thieves obtain information about deceased individuals in various ways.
How can someone steal a deceased person’s identity?
They may watch the obituaries, steal death certificates, or even get the information from websites that offer the Social Security Death Index file (which is actually intended for genealogy research).
Does the Social Security Administration notify the credit bureaus and other financial institutions when someone is deceased?
Yes, but please be aware that it takes time for the Social Security Administration to conduct this notification, so financial institutions and the credit bureaus are not immediately made aware that a customer is deceased.
Should I notify the credit bureaus when a dependent family member or spouse passes away?
Yes, you should immediately notify each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) in writing that the person is deceased and ask that a deceased alert be placed on their credit report.
How do I place a deceased alert on the credit file?
You will want to notify each credit bureau (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) in writing the following message:
“Deceased. Do not issue credit. If an application is made for credit, notify the following person(s) immediately: (list the next surviving relative, executor/trustee of the estate and/or local law enforcement agency- noting the relationship).”
Mail all correspondence via certified mail, return receipt requested. Be sure to keep photocopies of all correspondence, including letters that you send. Finally, you should also request a copy of the credit report.
PO Box 740260
Atlanta, GA 30374
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
What documents will I need to send to the credit bureaus alerting them that the person is deceased?
You will need to include:
- A copy of the death certificate
- Name and SSN of deceased
- Last known address
- Date of birth
- Date of death
Should I notify other financial institutions regarding the death?
Yes, immediately notify relevant credit card companies, banks, stock brokers, loan/lien holders, and mortgage companies of the death. 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.” You may need to provide a copy of the death certificate to creditors as well as the credit bureaus. You should also notify utilities, phone companies, cell phone companies, etc, that you are terminating the account because the account holder is deceased.
What happens if I do not notify the credit bureaus that the person is deceased?
Without a specific communication, the credit bureaus may not be aware of the death. An active credit file may stay open for up to 10 years without activity. During this time, an identity thief may use the decedent’s Social Security number to open up new lines of credit or apply for loans.
What steps should be taken if I (surviving spouse or estate executor) suspect that someone is fraudulently using the information of a deceased person?
There are several steps that should be taken:
- You should request a copy of the decedent’s credit reports and place a “deceased alert” on the credit files
- You should also notify the police in the decedent’s jurisdiction and provide any evidence you have of the fraud (collection notice, bills, credit report)
- Notify any creditor, collection agency, credit issuer, utility company that the person is deceased and date of death. Be sure to include a copy of the death certificate. Request an immediate investigation and that they contact you with the results of the investigation. Insist on “Letters of Clearance,” which you should keep with the other estate papers.
What should be done about joint accounts?
If there is a surviving spouse or other joint account holders, make sure to notify the company that the deceased’s name needs to be removed from the account. They may require a copy of the death certificate to do this, as well as permission from the survivor, or other authorized account holders.
Is it possible to order a credit report for a deceased person?
If the credit bureaus have been notified of the deceased person’s death, it is not possible to order their credit report. The easiest way to determine this is to try to place a fraud alert for the deceased person. If the fraud alert is placed, then the bureaus have NOT been notified of the person’s death and ordering a report is possible. If you are informed that the fraud alert cannot be placed because the person is deceased, then you know that the bureaus have updated their records and that you will not be able to order a credit report.