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Notifying The Credit Bureaus of the Passing of A Loved One – Credit Law Center

The passing of a loved one comes with many daunting tasks and an overwhelming amount of emotion. One task you may overlook is reporting their death to the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. When a loved one passes, the Social Security Administration will eventually get around to notifying the credit bureaus. However, it could take approximately six months or more.Unfortunately, thieves are no longer just targeting the living. They will file tax returns, obtain credit cards and blatantly steal the deceased’s identity.The good news is there are a few steps that the loved ones can take to help prevent identity theft on their loved one.

Why Thieves Target The Deceased

Death notices and public obituaries allow for your loved one’s credit profile to be an easier target. Criminals will use the information published in the obituaries to dig deeper to obtain more personal information from the social security index or death certificate.

Many family members or other relatives will have access to personal and financial information, making it easy to commit identity theft.

Steps to Take to Report Your Loved One’s Passing

1.Get multiple copies of the certified death certificate.
2.Report the death to all three credit bureaus.

  • Send a certified letter to the three credit bureaus.  You will want to include the Name, Social Security Number, date of birth, date of date, and the last address. You will also need to attach a copy of the certified death certificate,  and any documentation naming you the executor or executrix, and your state issued id.
  • It is important that in your letter you ask the credit bureaus to add the following statement – Deceased – Do Not Issue Credit.

Where to Send the Letters

  • Equifax Office of Consumer Affairs PO Box 105169 Atlanta, GA 30348
  • 1-800-685-1111
  • Experian PO Box 9701 Allen, TX 75013
  • 1-888-397-3742
  • Transunion PO Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834
  • 1-800-888-4213

Requesting a copy fo the deceased’s credit reports will help you determine what creditors the deceased had and who to contact by phone of their passing. It is important to contact any credit card companies, banks, auto loans, or mortgage loans of their passing. Notifying them of the death will allow these account holders to close the account and not allow any further debt to accumulate.

One important factor to remember before closing out any active credit cards or trade lines is to find out if you or any other family member is joint on the accounts. Closing an active trade line that you are a joint holder on may end up damaging your credit.

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