Identity theft of the recently deceased

A word of caution. Cyber criminals are monitoring obituaries and stealing identities. The police advice on minimizing identity theft is as follows, and we thought would be helpful to share. Here are some things to take care of as soon as possible after a loved one passes away:

  • When creating the obituary, make it about the deceased and refrain from listing all of the family members and their first names.
  • Ensure that the surviving spouse or executor contact the following entities in a timely fashion to ensure they are aware that the individual has passed away:
    • CRA (1.800.959.8281)
    • Depending on age — Old Age Security (OAS) (1.800.277.9914) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) (1.800.561.7930)
    • All banks and creditors
      (credit cards outside of primary bank)
    • Service Canada — regarding Social Insurance Number (1.800.206.7218)
    • Passport Canada (1.800.567.6868)
    • Utility providers
    • Equifax (1.800.465.7166)
    • TransUnion (1.800.663.9980)
    • Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1.888.495.8501)
  • If they have any social media accounts, make sure they are each locked down with the proper security settings.
  • Ensure that all family members are aware that if the published obituary has the family members’ first names, bad guys or ‘actors’ may creep their social media to glean information on it to use for grandma/grandpa scams.
  • Additionally, the actor/scammer may use social engineering to extract identification information from the surviving spouse at a time when they are emotionally distraught, especially if they were not the one that handled the couple’s financial affairs such as banking, paying bills or preparing income tax returns.
  • The actor/scammer will also contact the above entities to try to convince (socially engineer) the individual in customer service to provide personal information about the deceased or to transfer or add accounts in the deceased’s name if the entity is not aware that the person has passed away.


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