Identity theft after death

It seems obvious now, but it never would have occurred to me that obituaries provide a ripe source of information for identity thieves. Obituaries contain personal information like maiden names, birth dates, addresses, etc., all information that identity thieves can use to quickly run up a bill on the deceased’s tab. (All you need to get credit information is name, address, and date of birth.)

How big is the problem?

“About 400,000 checking accounts were opened in the names of deceased people in 2004,” says Jay Foley of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a San Diego-based consumer advocacy group. But often the goal is to open credit accounts in the name of the dead.

[via Alabama Consumer Law Blog]