If you think someone is using a deceased person’s personal information to commit fraud, we recommend that you act immediately by following our guidelines below, and then proceed to our ReportRecover andReinforce sections for further assistance. When your deceased loved one’s personal identity is used to commit fraud, the responsibility could fall back on you and your family.

Some Immediate Action Steps to Take

  • Visit IdentityTheft.gov from the Federal Trade Commission to file a report and create a personalized plan for recovery.
  • Send a copy of the death certificate to each credit reporting agency asking them to put a “deceased alert” on the individual’s credit report.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration and let them know the recipient has passed away.
  • Contact the police department in the deceased person’s jurisdiction if you have evidence of fraud.
  • If the thief is a relative, and the family is unable to decide on a course of action, it may be best to seek advice from an attorney that specializes in estate or family law.

Report

Reporting cybercrime incidents to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is very important! The more national reporting data that is collected, the better the chance law enforcement has to catch the criminals and decrease online crime. Although the FBI does not resolve individual complaints directly, they will make your report available to local, state and other law enforcement partners. The FAQs about reporting can be found here. Please read the FBI/IC3 privacy policy here. (If you believe that you’ve received a phishing email, please forward the email directly to spam@uce.gov and
reportphishing@apwg.org.)

Recover

These resources have been gathered, selected and vetted to help simplify the process of recovering after a cybercrime incident has taken place. You may need to contact organizations outside Fraudsupport.org. Results will vary depending on your circumstances.

Reinforce

Once you have notified the appropriate organizations and you are on the road to recovery, it is time to reinforce your cybersecurity using these resources and tools.

Implement Preventive Measures

  • Limit the amount of personal information you share about the deceased person in any obituaries.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration immediately of a death.
  • Send a copy of the death certificate to the IRS as soon as it is available.
  • Send a copy of the death certificate to each credit reporting agency asking them to put a “deceased alert” on the individual’s credit report.
  • Send copies of the death certificate to banks, financial institutions, credit card providers, mortgages and insurers where the deceased held accounts, and ask them to list “Closed: Account Holder Is Deceased” on the account.
  • Keep an eye on the deceased person’s credit accounts with a free annual credit report.
  • Submit requests for the removal or memorialization of the deceased person’s social media accounts:
  • Choose a legacy contact to look over your memorialized Facebook account after you pass.