An Advisor in our Edmonton office shared with us some cautionary advice he received from the Edmonton Police Service. As it turns out, cyber criminals are monitoring obituaries and stealing identities. The police advice on minimizing identity theft is helpful to share with our clients.
Here are some things to take care of as soon as possible after someone 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/family 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 Ontario – Drivers license (1-8000-267-8097)
- Service Canada – SIN (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)
- Ontario Healthcare
- If clients 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.
- While it’s sad we have to watch out for this, we’re in a fortunate position to be able to advise and help clients during difficult times. We want to ensure our clients are aware of these risks and help avoid them being taken advantage of!