Protect your ID after your death

FOX 5 I-Team Investigates

It's fair to say that many of us are in fear of our ID being stolen. But guess what? We find that ID theft doesn't end when you die.  In fact, there are scammers out there who specifically try to snatch up the identities of people who've died.

 And many of them simply start by scouring the obituaries. Families want to tell the stories of a loved one's life, but be careful adding too much detail.  Georgia attorney general Sam Olens says that you shouldn’t put your full birthday in the paper, and, as quickly as you can, start spreading the word to the right groups that your loved one has passed.

“One of the first things, when you get a death certificate, get, like, 10 because you're going to need to give it to folks. You are going to need to give it to the IRS, to social security, Georgia Department of Revenue, Department of Driver's Services. You're going to need to give it to the bank. You're going to need to give it to the credit cards. Anything you have in joint name, you'll need to give it so they'll change it,” advised the attorney general.

 Here's a 'to do' list: First, report the death to the Social Security Administration by calling 800-772-1213.  Then contact the IRS and the Department of Driver Services.
The AG had more ID theft advice.

 “Just as we have a big problem with identity theft, we have a big problem with elder abuse. It's sort of like the perfect combination to go after seniors. And, naturally, when you're talking about deceased individuals many of their partners are usually up there in age. It's an attractive nuisance, shall we say.”
Finally, you can also have a "deceased alert" put on your spouse's credit report. The AG's office says to make sure you send this request via certified mail with "return receipt requested."