How to Keep Thieves From Stealing a Dead Relative's Identity

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- It's not enough to have to worry about getting your own identity stolen -- you have to worry about the identity of your kids, too. Perhaps most shocking of all, however, you now have make sure that identity thieves aren't stealing your dead relatives' critical information. It's a growing threat: In the United States alone there were 2.5 million cases of fraudulently used information from the deceased every year. Here's how you detect and combat it.

Get Protection In Advance

Start by getting protection from the word go. Maria Cordeiro with the Chubb Group said that people should give limited information out when posting obituaries.

"Identity thieves read obituaries looking for their next victim," she explained. "Don't include a complete address, date of birth, survivor names or professional history."

What's more, she said the living should notify the Social Security Administration, who keep something called a "death master file" of Social Security Numbers to deactivate.

"Funeral directors are supposed to do this, but doing it yourself can accelerate the process," Cordeiro said.

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