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Mary Beth Franklin explains how to keep thieves from stealing a departed loved one's identity.
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Kevin McCormally: I am Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger's, I am here with Mary Beth Franklin, Senior Editor of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine to talk about a new twist on Identity Theft. Mary Beth, identity theft has been in the news for several years now, identity theft of the living, but I now I understand there is a new twist, Identity Theft of the Dead?
Mary Beth Franklin: Yes, it's nothing secret. The problem is obits, not only do your friends and relatives read them but prospective crooks too. People put too much information and sometimes you really should leave out the deceased mate name and the exact date of birth because those are key elements to identity theft.
Kevin McCormally: So you leave out mate name, you can't leave out the time and date of the funeral. I understand there is a problem with that too.
Mary Beth Franklin: That's right because when you are at the funeral, the crooks know that no one is home. So you might want to have a neighbor stay or even just notify the local police to keep an eye on the house.
Kevin McCormally: What do you do about your credit report?
Mary Beth Franklin: First of all, you want to contact all three credit agencies and put a deceased notice there, so that if anyone tries to open an account on the deceased person's name, they will stop it right away.
Kevin McCormally: So what about bank accounts, credit cleared accounts of the deceased?
Mary Beth Franklin: You want to make sure you notify any agency that has personal information that would be social security administration and believe it or not the department of motor vehicles because a driver's license is a key element that identity thieves are looking for.