Your Dead Relative Could be a Victim of Identity Theft
Your lost loved one's financial identity could come back to life in a most unsettling way -- 2.5 million deceased Americans' identities are misused every year, according to ID Analytics, an ID theft risk assessment company. The company's research arm compared the names, Social Security numbers and birthdays listed on applications for credit against the Social Security Administration's master file of deaths to come up with those numbers.
ID Analytics says crooks intentionally steal the identities of about 800,000 deceased Americans each year. The company says identity thieves also make up Social Security numbers, and inadvertently make matches with about 1.6 million people a year who have died.
In addition, ID Analytics detected a disturbing pattern of theft of financial information belonging to people who were dying. It's easy to see how that could happen, since people who are gravely ill can easily lose track of the details of their finances. When you break it down, ID Analytics says con artists use dead people's identities more than 2,000 times a day.