Junk Mail from the Great Beyond

As someone who has lost a sibling, I know how painful reminders of a late loved one can be.  Annoyances such as receiving junk mail or telemarketing calls years after death are often unnecessary and unwanted.  However, a surviving loved one can take action to reduce or even eliminate these solicitations. 

The Direct Marketing Association operates a Deceased Do Not Contact List, allowing friends, relatives and caregivers of deceased individuals to register to remove them from commercial marketing lists. There is a $1 credit card verification fee for each registration, which ensures a permanent record of those registering and helps prevent misuse or fraud.

The major consumer reporting companies can assist you in stopping pre-screened offers for credit and insurance.  Call toll-free, 1-888-567-8688, or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. To opt out permanently, you may begin the process online, but to complete your request, you must return a signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your request.

For unwanted phone calls, the federal government’s National Do Not Call Registry is a free and easy way to reduce telemarketing. To register your phone number or to get information about the registry, visit the website or call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you want to register.  You will receive fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering the number. 

If the deceased was a minor, parents can guard against child identity theft by using the free ChildScan website, which is sponsored by AllClear ID and TransUnion.  ChildScan searches credit, criminal, medical and employment records, giving parents a safe and secure way to determine if someone is using their child’s Social Security number.

Finally, the three major credit bureaus can place a Deceased – Do Not Issue Credit flag on the late individual’s credit reports in order to help protect against fraud.

Thomas Nitzsche is Clearpoint’s Media Relations Manager, former credit counselor and resident credit expert. He enjoys bargain travel, planning his tiny house project and working on his family’s 1850’s farmhouse in southern Illinois. You can follow him on Twitter.

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