Importance of notifying the credit bureaus of your loved one's death

As of September 23, 2020 almost 200,000 people died due to Covid-19. Per the CDC almost 80% of them were seniors. Many have died alone, while their loved ones awaited the dreaded phone call from the hospital. The inability to sit by your loved one's side as they lose their lives to Coronavirus has made this loss even more devastating.

During our period of mourning, Caregivers forget the minor details, such as canceling their credit cards and removing their social presence on the internet (Facebook, Instagram). One thing we never consider is to notify the credit bureaus. For loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's or other forms of Dementia, this becomes even more important because they may have opened credit cards or taken out loans in the last few years that you are unaware of. They may have been persuaded by a thief to reveal certain personal information.

Most of us are dismissive, because the Social Security Administration notifies all three bureaus. Unfortunately, during this pandemic, many agencies have lengthy wait times. Just think about how long you have to stand in the Department of Motor Vehicle lines. As the economy declines, identity theft is on the rise, according to Accounting Today. Therefore, being proactive is better than being reactive; it could take months to handle and recover from identity theft, even for the deceased. On Transunion's site they recommend contacting the bureaus directly because notifying them "can be faster and help ensure no one applies for credit in your loved one’s name in the meantime."

Per Experian's website, once one bureau is notified, they will notify the other two agencies. Best to err on the side of caution and contact all three. The process is simple, so why not spend the extra 10-15 minutes to notify all of them.

Experian requires the following documents:

The person’s legal name

  • The person’s Social Security number

  • The person’s date of birth and date of death

  • A copy of the death certificate

  • Copies of any required legal documents

  • Your full name

  • Your address (to send confirmation of death notice placement)

Contacting them directly will give you a piece of mind that no one will try to take out a loan, open a credit card, etc.

In addition Consumer Action recommends:


• Social Security Administration

• Insurance companies (auto, health, life, etc.)

• Veteran’s Administration (if the person was a former member of the military)

• Immigration Services (if the decedent is not a U.S. citizen)

• Department of Motor Vehicles (if the person had a driver’s license or state ID card; make sure that any vehicle registration is transferred to the new owner)

• Professional licensing agencies (Bar association, medical board, cosmetology board, etc.)

• Any membership programs (video rental, public library, fitness club, etc.)

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