Notary Bulletin

Study: Scammers Steal Identities Of 800,000 Deceased Each Year

The identities of approximately 800,000 deceased Americans are stolen each year and used to obtain credit, cell phone service and other benefits, according to a study by risk management company ID Analytics.

The study also found that scammers annually co-opt the identities of several hundred thousand seriously ill senior citizens. In addition, the study turned up “1.6 million instances of a fraudster using a fabricated Social Security Number that unintentionally matches the SSN of a deceased person.”

Apart from the problems this phenomena causes to surviving family members who have to deal with the estates of their deceased loved ones, it poses a real threat to businesses that handle bogus credit applications, said Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, Chief Technology Officer for ID Analytics.

One of the more common scams Notaries encounter are attempts to transfer title to real estate belonging to elderly or recently deceased individuals. Scammers often use fraudulent IDs or bogus powers of attorney.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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