Be very careful when you post an obituary for your loved one. Scammers can glean key information, such as the person’s full name, birthplace, birthdate, and date of death, with the intent to steal their identity and more.  Some scams targeting the bereaved include:

  • Posing as insurance agents or debt collectors, saying that the deceased owes money
  • Pretending to be a representative from FEMA and stating that you qualify for funeral assistance. Then asking for more personal information in order to complete the transaction
  • Saying they are long-lost friends of the deceased and asking for money
  • Preying on the surviving spouse in a romance scam, with the intent to benefit monetarily

What to Do After a Death of a Loved One to Protect Yourself

  1. Report the death to Social Security
  2. Report the death to the IRS by sending a copy of the death certificate
  3. Notify your bank that the person is deceased. Then, if you close an account, they can mark the reason why
  4. Notify the major credit bureaus so that no one can take out a loan under the deceased’s name.

What to Watch for After the Death of a Loved One

  1. Anyone asking for personal information. If they claim to be your bank or a government official, ask for your case number and tell them you’ll call back at their official number to be sure the call is legitimate.
  2. Long lost friends in need of money or assistance. Ask around to see if any other family knows the person. If they don’t, it’s a red flag.
  3. A debt collector demanding immediate payment. If anyone is telling you to pay a debt or XYZ will happen to you, do not get caught up in the urgency. Take your time to authorize the legitimacy of the call or message.

At Senior Safe and Sound, we want to help you recognize scams to avoid being victims of theft. For information on other scams and how to detect them, contact us by email at or call 858-480-7551.

This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.