What is a death alert?
A death alert is a notification that credit card companies, credit rating agencies, and other financial institutions with knowledge of a person’s death. These opinions are crucial in the fight against identity theftas would-be thieves often attempt to obtain new loans using the personal information of deceased persons.
Key points to remember:
- A death alert is a notice given to financial institutions informing them of the death of one of their account holders.
- These notices limit the risk of identity theft.
- Although death alerts are usually issued by credit reporting agencies, families of the deceased may wish to notify their financial institutions directly to ensure they are notified of the death as soon as possible.
How death alerts work
Death alerts are usually sent by credit reporting agencies and communicated to various financial institutions. The purpose of the alert is to notify these institutions of the death of the person concerned so that they do not prolong further credit products to anyone applying under the name of the deceased.
Unfortunately, sometimes identity thieves use the identities of deceased people to apply for credit products in their name. In some cases, this information is taken from obituaries and other public information. For this reason, families of the deceased may consider not including personal information, such as the date of birth or address of the deceased, when issuing public statements.
This type of identity theft can cause significant financial damage to the deceased person. domain, forcing their surviving family members to navigate a long and complicated recovery process. To protect against the risk of fraud, families should promptly contact their banks, lenders and any other financial institutions with which the deceased held accounts, formally requesting that they issue a death alert. As an added precaution, write directly to the three major credit bureaus—Equifax (EFX), Experian and TransUnion (TRU)—may also be useful.
Concrete example of a death alert
As the executor for her father’s estate, Jeanne must ensure that her father’s financial providers are informed of his death so that they can issue a death alert. In doing so, she begins by obtaining several certified copies of her father’s death certificate and sends these copies to the credit card companies, banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions where his father kept accounts. This way, financial institutions will know how to close their accounts and refrain from opening new accounts in his father’s name in the future.
As an extra precaution, Jane is also contacting the Social Security Administration (ASS) to report the death while mailing additional copies of his father’s death certificate to the three major credit reporting agencies.Finally, Jane further reduces the risk of identity theft by revoking her father’s driver’s license and limiting the amount of personal information contained in his obituary.