"Sample Letter to the Credit Bureaus Notifying of Death" - California

Sample Letter to the Credit Bureaus Notifying of Death is a legal document that was released by the California Department of Justice - a government authority operating within California.

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Download "Sample Letter to the Credit Bureaus Notifying of Death" - California

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Identity Theft and the Deceased
Identity Theft Can Victimize the Dead
Tips for Consumers
Consumer Information Sheet 3C
June 2014
Identity thieves can strike even after death. An identity thief’s use of a deceased person’s Social
Security number may create problems for family members. This type of identity theft also victimizes
merchants, banks, and other businesses that provide goods and services to the thief.
What happens to your Social Security number after you die? The Social Security Administration
(SSA) maintains a national file of reported deaths for the purpose of paying appropriate benefits.
The file contains the following information: Social Security number, name, date of birth, date of
death, state of last known residence, and zip code of last lump sum payment.
The SSA generally areceives reports of death from a family member or a funeral home. Sometimes
delays in reporting can provide time for identity thieves to collect enough personal information to
open credit accounts or take other fraudulent actions using the deceased’s information. To prevent
this from happening, a surviving spouse or other authorized individual, such as an executor, can
notify the credit bureaus. This will ensure that the deceased’s files are flagged with a “deceased”
notation.
Signs of possible identity theft include calls from a creditor or collection agency on an account
opened or used in the deceased’s name after death. If you discover such signs, contact the affected
creditor or collection agency in writing, explaining that the account was opened or used fraudu-
lently. See sample letter attached.
Notifying the Social
Notifying the Credit Bureaus
Security Administration
To flag the credit files of a person who is de-
ceased, the surviving spouse or executor needs
In most cases, a funeral director will report the
to notify the three national credit bureaus in
person’s death to SSA. To ensure the death is
writing. The surviving spouse or executor must
reported promptly, a family member can make
include the following specific information
a report directly to an SSA representative by
along with the alert request: 1) a copy of death
calling SSA toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY
certificate, and 2) proof of executorship or mar-
1-800-325-0778), between the hours of 7:00
riage. Then mail the notification documents to
a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
the credit bureaus at the addresses listed on the
For more information, visit SSA online at
next page.
www.ssa.gov/ww&os1.htm.
1
X
B
c
D
J
avier
ecerra
alifornia
epartment of
ustice
Attorney General
Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
State of California
www.oag.ca.gov/privacy
Identity Theft and the Deceased
Identity Theft Can Victimize the Dead
Tips for Consumers
Consumer Information Sheet 3C
June 2014
Identity thieves can strike even after death. An identity thief’s use of a deceased person’s Social
Security number may create problems for family members. This type of identity theft also victimizes
merchants, banks, and other businesses that provide goods and services to the thief.
What happens to your Social Security number after you die? The Social Security Administration
(SSA) maintains a national file of reported deaths for the purpose of paying appropriate benefits.
The file contains the following information: Social Security number, name, date of birth, date of
death, state of last known residence, and zip code of last lump sum payment.
The SSA generally areceives reports of death from a family member or a funeral home. Sometimes
delays in reporting can provide time for identity thieves to collect enough personal information to
open credit accounts or take other fraudulent actions using the deceased’s information. To prevent
this from happening, a surviving spouse or other authorized individual, such as an executor, can
notify the credit bureaus. This will ensure that the deceased’s files are flagged with a “deceased”
notation.
Signs of possible identity theft include calls from a creditor or collection agency on an account
opened or used in the deceased’s name after death. If you discover such signs, contact the affected
creditor or collection agency in writing, explaining that the account was opened or used fraudu-
lently. See sample letter attached.
Notifying the Social
Notifying the Credit Bureaus
Security Administration
To flag the credit files of a person who is de-
ceased, the surviving spouse or executor needs
In most cases, a funeral director will report the
to notify the three national credit bureaus in
person’s death to SSA. To ensure the death is
writing. The surviving spouse or executor must
reported promptly, a family member can make
include the following specific information
a report directly to an SSA representative by
along with the alert request: 1) a copy of death
calling SSA toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY
certificate, and 2) proof of executorship or mar-
1-800-325-0778), between the hours of 7:00
riage. Then mail the notification documents to
a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
the credit bureaus at the addresses listed on the
For more information, visit SSA online at
next page.
www.ssa.gov/ww&os1.htm.
1
X
B
c
D
J
avier
ecerra
alifornia
epartment of
ustice
Attorney General
Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
State of California
www.oag.ca.gov/privacy
Experian National Consumer
For your convenience, we’ve developed the
Assistance Center
following sample letters for your use. One of
P.O. Box 9701
the letters may be used to notify the credit
Allen, Texas 75013
bureaus. The other may be used to inform a
creditor or collection agency of suspected
TransUnion
identity theft involving a deceased person’s
1561 E. Orangethorpe Avenue
information.
Fullerton, CA 92831
Equifax
P.O. Box 105518
Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5518
This fact sheet is for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice or as
policy of the State of California. If you want advice on a particular case, you should consult an
attorney or other expert. The fact sheet may be copied, if (1) the meaning of the copied text is
not changed or misrepresented, (2) credit is given to the California Department of Justice, and
(3) all copies are distributed free of charge.
2
X
B
c
D
J
avier
ecerra
alifornia
epartment of
ustice
Attorney General
Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
State of California
www.oag.ca.gov/privacy
Sample Letter to the Credit Bureaus Notifying of Death
[Date]
Dear [name of credit bureau]:
I am writing to request that a formal death notice be placed on the credit file of:
Deceased’s full name (with middle initial if used):
Most recent address:
Social Security number:
Birthdate:
Enclosed please find one copy of decedant’s death certificate. Also enclosed is a copy of a
document attesting to my authority as decedant’s executor/surviving spouse.
If you have any questions, you may contact me by telephone at [phone number] or by email
at [email address].
Thank you.
Yours truly,
[Your name and address]
3
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B
c
D
J
avier
ecerra
alifornia
epartment of
ustice
Attorney General
Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
State of California
www.oag.ca.gov/privacy
Sample Letter to Creditor or Collection Agency
on Account Opened/Accessed in Deceased’s Name
[Date]
Dear [name of company]:
I am writing to notify you of an account that, I understand, was opened/accessed fraudulently in
the name of [deceased’s name], who died on [date of death]. As the [executor/surviving spouse],
I request that you close that account without attempting further collection from me and that
you place a formal death notice on the account.
Account number:
Deceased’s full name (with middle initial if used):
Most recent address:
Enclosed please find a copy of decedant’s death certificate. Also enclosed is a document
attesting to my authority as the decedant’s [executor/surviving spouse].
If you have any questions, you may contact me by telephone, at [phone number] or by email
at [email address].
Thank you.
Yours truly,
[Your name and address]
4
X
B
c
D
J
avier
ecerra
alifornia
epartment of
ustice
Attorney General
Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit
State of California
www.oag.ca.gov/privacy
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