Chayet & Danzo, LLC Chayet & Danzo, LLC
Call for a Free Initial Consultation
Direct 303-355-8500
Toll-Free 1-866-873-6596
Email Us
Compassion, talent and dedication: guiding colorado families and Their Trusted Advisors During Times of Need

Ghosting: The abuse of a deceased individual’s identity

Identity theft schemes constantly evolve and target everyone from infants to those who have recently passed away. Ghosting, stealing the identity of a deceased victim, claims as many as 2.5 million identities a year.

Criminals can use identity information to apply for credit or file for a tax refund. Collection letters or IRS notices are worrying, but it is important to note that family members are not responsible for accrued charges that result from identity theft.

Limit personal identifying information

Criminals scour obituaries to obtain information they can use, such as:

  • Maiden name
  • Date of birth
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Hometown
  • Nearest relatives

With this information thieves may be able to purchase the Social Security number of the recently deceased individual. For this reason, it is often best to limit the information published in an obituary.

Reporting and monitoring

The University of Texas at Austin Center for Identity offers some other important advice.

First, request a death certificate as soon as it is available.

Next, send copies to banks, insurance companies and investment firms asking they flag accounts “Closed – Account holder is deceased.” Notify Social Security of the death and cancel the deceased’s driver’s license at the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles.

Lastly, after several months pull your loved one’s credit report to make sure you can quickly address any suspicious activity or errors.

Document any occurrence of identity theft and immediately report it to local police. This gives law enforcement the best chance to catch the perpetrators and stop them. While family members will rarely be liable as long as their names are not on the accounts, cleaning up the mess takes time and is an added hassle.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Watch Our Firm Video

We are the premier Elder Law firm in the Colorado region. We set ourselves apart from other law firms in the area with our talent, dedication, compassion and ability of our attorneys to handle any case in Elder Law. We serve Colorado families with experience and dignity in your time of need.

View More Videos

Denver Office
650 S.Cherry St., Suite 710
Denver, CO 80246

Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Phone: 303-872-5980
Fax: 303-355-8501
Denver Law Office Map

Edwards Office
105 Edwards Village Blvd.
Edwards, CO 81632

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Edwards Law Office Map

Aspen Office
600 East Hopkins Avenue
Suite 301
Aspen, CO 81611

Toll Free: 888-472-1088
Toll Free: 1-888-472-1088
Fax: 303-355-8501
Aspen Law Office Map

  • Rated by Super Lawyers Macro Chayet
  • Rated by Super Lawyers Frank J. Danzo, III
  • Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. TM
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Elder Law
  • 2015 Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Multi-Year Winner
  • Our new 2015 Medicaid Book: how to protect your Family's Assets from devastating nursing home costs
  • Proud Sponsor 2015-Denver Colorado Senior Law Day
  • Peer Review Rated For Ethical standards & Legal Ability TM Martindale Hubbell
  • Haystack