My father passed away in December of 2012. Apparently, identity thieves knew about it.

I had to deal with a fraudulent tax return filed in his name, bank accounts set up in his name and credit cards applied for in his name.

While that happened at the very beginning, I read one hint that really helped. Notify credit bureaus of someone’s death to stop someone from using their name for credit.

How do you do that? Here are the steps below:

Write a letter to all three credit reporting bureaus. Below is a sample letter and the addresses of the “big-three” bureaus.

This letter is a notice that (deceased name)  passed away on (date of death). His/her credit records should reflect this fact and inquiries should communicate that to the parties which are seeking credit records. This information is effective upon receipt of this letter.

Below are the pertinent facts:

Deceased Name.

Deceased Mailing Address

Date of birth: (deceased dob)

Date of Death:(deceased dod)

Social Security Number:  (deceased SS#)

My name is (your name and mailing address). Cell Phone: (your phone number in case contact needs to be made). I am (relationship to deceased) and have power of attorney.

I have enclosed the following documentation:

Death certificate

Copy of stateDrivers License

Copy of Power of Attorney 

Send the letter to all three bureaus by certified mail requesting delivery receipt.

While this seems like an unnecessary act (especially under duress), it stops potential fraud. I know what because last week (30 months after my father’s death) I was notified by a credit card company denying the opening of a credit account in my dad’s name. It is still protecting us after all this time.

I hope this helps you prevent some headaches when you are in the throes of grief.