Hi there Bridget Mackay with the Offices of Bridget Mackay Petaluma, California. I practice in the area of estate planning and elder law.

And today, I want to talk to a little bit about identity theft and obituaries. I don’t know how low identity theft and scammers could go. But, I want to put you on notice that we have seen some cases of people taking information out of obituaries that are placed online or in the paper of someone dying and using them later as identity theft schemes.

So, a couple of tips. Number one, if a loved one dies. Make sure you’ve notified the Social Security Administration. All of their credit cards, banks and all the three major credit reporting companies to have their files marked as deceased.

Second, and this is almost sad because in the obituaries, don’t give the deceased person’s maiden name. Or, it’s probably better not even to name relatives of the deceased person. Because that can be a grandchild scams. Things like that can crop up along that along those lines. You’d be surprised what people could do with just a name to find identities and then steal from those around them or the survivors.

Those are a couple of tips about obituaries and writing obituaries for the paper. Try to give as little personal information as possible. And one big red no, do not ever do is give an address of the deceased person. Don’t ever place an address of this deceased person in the paper. You might want to say what city they were from in that county but never give a physical address.

So I hope these tips help. Sadly, we have to talk about them and hopefully some of this knowledge will keep you and your family members safe.