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Police investigating after someone racked up $10,000 in charges using deceased man's identity

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GREENFIELD (CBS 58) -- Police in Greenfield are investigating after someone used a man's credit cards after he passed away and racked up thousands in charges. 

According to a subpoena for records, family members discovered several of the victim's credit cards had charges made on them after he died. 

An officer discovered four accounts were compromised with approximately $10,000 in fraudulent charges made at different stores in the Milwaukee area and online. 

A detective determined that someone ordered additional cards for two of the victim's accounts and had them shipped to the victim's homes, according to the subpoena.

Police believe someone was watching for the card shipment, posed as the victim, and took the cards. 

"It is a fact that a lot of recent deceased people have their identities stolen and used," said Jim Temmer, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin. 

Temmer says to be cautious about what is written in an obituary. 

"As hard as it is to say, someone can open an obituary and get a name, date of birth, work history, close relatives, maiden name; all sorts of information that they can then use to try and steal that person’s identity."

He says to also notify credit bureaus, financial institutions and the Social Security Administration when someone dies. 

"And as soon as you get copies of the death certificate, you should forward them again to the IRS, social security, financial institutions, credit bureaus. They can put a deceased alert on the credit bureau so any time someone would try to open an account it would show they were deceased," Temmer says. 

"Always be mindful of your financial statements and credit reports. If you believe a charge to your account is suspicious, look into it immediately and report it to the police as soon as you can if you discover fraudulent charges," added Greenfield Police Captain Eric Lindstrom. 

Lindstrom says this is an ongoing investigation. 



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