Protecting Your Identity through Grief
Grief is hard enough. Can you imagine having your identity stolen while grieving. Compounding the situation with identity theft can be extremely overwhelming and disheartening. Not to mention, what do you do when it happens. I have been the victim of one of the most extreme cases of identity theft while grieving. I have had my social security number, driver’s license number, address, date of birth among many other things stolen from me. To compound the situation, I only found out after several bank accounts had been opened in my name. I speak from personal experience and have gone through the proper recovery steps when my identity was stolen. After a lot of research, I found the following government site to be one the best and most thorough resource to cover all of your bases with a roadmap and checklist to boot. The website is Identitytheft.gov. The site is backed by the federal trade commission. I have also highlighted the following tips when creating a plan.
Check the 3 credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, Transunion and at a minimum put a 7 year alert on all three. The preferable route is to freeze your credit.
Notify the Federal Trade Commission
Get a PIN number in order to file your tax returns—important so no one steals your tax return
Alert ChexSystems—this is the reporting system for bank accounts.
Make a police report
Notify your bank and put extra security steps in place when obtaining information
Notify the banks and or institutions where fraudulent accounts were opened.
Be very careful when giving your personal information online or in person. Also, be mindful of the your children’s personal information.
Be careful when giving others the ability to post pictures of you or your family, especially minor children
Change all online passwords and institute two factor authentification
This is not an all encompassing list, but it is a good start.