NewsLocal NewsCuyahoga County


Woman warns others after loved one who died becomes victim of identity theft

Posted at 7:43 AM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 08:47:36-04

Sadly, even death no longer protects you from identity theft. 

"The IRS sent a letter to my Aunt, marked deceased,someone had used her Social Security Number to gain employment," said Susan Houghes.

She couldn't believe her aunt, who died 13 years ago, was suddenly an ID theft victim. Now, she's scrambling to protect her loved relative, and having to relive sad memories. 

"After 13 years, who would expect to get something like that?" she recalls.

It turns out, identity theft involving the deceased happens a lot more often than one would think. Many organizations report tens of thousands of deceased people are targeted by ID thieves every year.

Luckily for Houghes, AARP has a list of things to do to prevent ID theft after death. Among them: notify social security immediately, alert all banks and creditors, and contact Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, which Houghes is now doing. 

"Let them know to mark the account 'deceased,' do not issue credit," she said.

Even though Houghes knows her aunt can't be troubled anymore, it still leaves her and her family feeling violated. 

"You just don't think about your loved one, who has passed, being a victim," she said.