As Andy Williams’ famously sang, the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, however, they are also the time when crime is at an all-time high. As tragic as it is, this is just as true in our industry as every other. Unscrupulous people take advantage of the bereaved. And since more people die during the holidays than any other time of the year, now is the time to take steps to make sure you stay safe this holiday—as well as any other time – you find yourself dealing with the loss of someone you love.
Two Common Death-Related Scams
Believe it or not, some thieves do research before they commit a crime. They read obituaries to determine when people will be at a funeral service. If you’ve published an obituary for a family member or close friend and include the time for services, arrange to have a friend of the family stay at your house, to make sure it is attended during the service.
Stealing the identity of a deceased person is so common, there is a name for it — ghosting. Thieves target parents who recently lost a child. They use the deceased child’s social security number and other personal information to open credit card accounts and claim themselves as dependents, sometimes arranging to have death benefits paid to them. To protect yourself from this type of theft, make sure you contact Social Security Administration as soon as possible if you lose a child. Inform them of your loss, so the associated ID number will be properly marked.
We realize this is a sensitive time and making calls of this type is the last thing on your mind. Thieves realize this too, which is why they take advantage of the situation. Send copies of death certificates to the three credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — and request a “deceased alert” on those records. Also mail certificates to financial institutions, credit card companies, insurance firms and banks. In addition, use certified mail and to keep a record of where certificates were mailed.
If the deceased was older, remember to cancel their driver’s license to prevent fraudulent duplicates from being issued. About six months after the death, consider checking the person’s credit report to spot any suspicious activity.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation
Drop by our Glendora showroom any time. In Covina, our relationship with Sacred Heart Chapel is the perfect place for mourners to host funerals and memorial services in a grandiose yet intimate setting. We proudly serve the San Gabriel Valley, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles Basin, Orange County and the Inland Empire. Working in the mortuary industry since 1996, we have worked hard to build a reputation of quality, sincerity and trust. Please allow us to help you at your time of need or in the future. Call today (626) 335-0615 or drop by our showroom.