Facebook For The Deceased

There should be an image here!Q: I heard that Facebook has a way to preserve an account for someone that has passed away? Is this true and if so, how does it work? — Julia

A: One of the unintended benefits of having a Facebook page is that when one passes on, a very detailed and wonderful memorial to that person will remain.

Not only are there all the memories from the person that has passed, but all of the thoughts and comments from the friends of the deceased also remain for others to share.

Facebook created a process that allows family members to notify them that the user has passed away and to convert the profile into a ‘memorial’ page.

According to Facebook: “Memorializing the account removes certain sensitive information and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in search. The Wall remains so that friends and family can leave posts in remembrance.”

Another result in memorializing the profile is that the annual ‘birthday reminder’ for that user that would normally appear on friends pages is removed from the network (which may or may not be desired).

To notify Facebook of a deceased person’s profile, you can fill out the form located here, but you will need some information that may require you to do some homework first.

Obviously, Facebook has to balance the need for loved ones to report a passing with pranksters that think it would be funny to report a living person as deceased.

If you find yourself in this situation, you will be asked to provide the full name used on the profile, DOB, the email address used to set up the account (you may have to take an educated guess), Facebook networks that the deceased may have belonged to, the actual Facebook URL (Web address) for the deceased’s profile, your relationship, and any online proof of the passing (such as an obituary or new story).

The less of this information you have, the less likely you will get Facebook to memorialize the account.

When a profile is memorialized, certain things are removed by Facebook at its discretion and the profile is locked down from any future ‘friends’ to connect. While this policy is intended to respect the privacy of the deceased, it sets up a problem for those that did not connect prior to the profile being converted.

Many family members are taken by surprise because of some of the automatic changes that occur to the profile once it is memorialized and would not have done it if they had known what was going to happen.

Something that everyone that is active on Facebook should consider is documenting the necessary items above along with the profile login information and storing it in a safety deposit box or somewhere else secure that would only be accessed in the event of an untimely passing.

This would allow family members to take over the account and manage the profile status, connections, etc. to their own needs instead of allowing Facebook’s policies to determine what happens.

Facebook isn’t the only social network that can become a memorial to a loved one, so some interesting new services have appeared on the landscape.

One in particular, Backupify, is an online backup service for social media and other Internet based personal data that was supposedly created as a result of the death of someone close to one of the founders.

Again, if you use this to preserve your social postings, you should keep a copy of the login information with the rest of your ‘in the event of my death’ file or safety deposit box so your family can control your digital legacy.

Ken Colburn
Data Doctors Computer Services
Data Doctors Data Recovery Labs
Data Doctors Franchise Systems, Inc.
Weekly video tech contributor to CNN.com
Host of the award-winning “Computer Corner” radio show

Airline Loses Corpse

What do you do when your wife’s body is to be flown home and you are at the airport and the body doesn’t arrive? How about if the Airline can’t find the body for 4 days? Needless to say the family was slightly peeved at American Airlines when they couldn’t find the corpse. In a country where frivolous lawsuits are common, this lawsuit against the airline appears to have merit.

The saga began when a man had lost his wife to pelvic cancer. He made arrangements to have the body shipped from the US to their home country of Ecuador via American Airlines. The man and his daughter flew home first and waited for the arrival of the deceased. But at the airport the body could not be found. After a search around the country, the corpse was finally located and arrived some 4 days later. The body was not refrigerated during transport and apparently, according to the story, was showing signs of decomposition. The story also states:

When Teresa’s body finally arrived late at night on April 4, Olaya saw that it hadn’t been property refrigerated.

“When I opened the casket, it was a terrible shock,” said Olaya. “I still can’t get it out of my mind”

“They treated the body like a piece of baggage,” said lawyer Christopher Robles, who said his client was seeking an unspecified seven-figure sum. “They didn’t keep it refrigerated.”

A spokeswoman for the airline said the company could not comment on pending litigation.

I could not even imagine having this happen to one of my loved ones. It would appear that American Airlines better get out their checkbook.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.


Identity Theft – Now They Are Stealing From The Dead

We have all heard the tales and woes of those who have their identities stolen, whether on line, or by some other means. The stories of what victims have to go through to get their credit fixed can be a nightmare. But I recently read this article here
and it seems that the crooks have stooped to a new low. Than I did a Google and obtained more information and it seems that stealing the identity of the dead is on the rise.

The most disturbing case was that of a six year old girl who had been struck by a car and killed in 1982. Some 20 years later the mother is notified that someone has stolen the dead girls identity and is using the deceased name. Can you imagine not only does the grieving family have to deal with a child’s death but now they must deal with some knot-head who is using her identity.

To add to this, it seems that there are over 400,000 checking accounts issued to the dead. This can than be used to obtain credit cards, also in the deceased name. What is also quite common is that the credit card companies keep reporting the bad debts to the credit bureaus who keep racking up bad debt against the deceased. And even when proof is provided that the person ia really, really dead, they still keep the bad accounts open and report the bad debts. Do they expect payments from the grave?

I also read of cases of where the crooks were able to purchase over 100 cars in the name of dead people totaling $1.5 million dollars. Do you think our system may have a few flaws in it? Also the names and identity information of the dead are sold so that other criminals can also share in this new found wealth.

One report suggests that after a person is buried that a credit report should be run several weeks later, to determine if there is any suspicious activity and if any credit accounts have been open in the deceased name. It is just unbelievable that we now have to take such measures to protect our love ones even after they die.

Comments welcome.

[tags]identity theft, deceased, credit, checking, accounts, [/tags]

James Kim, A Friend…

As I wrote in my blog…

I don’t have a lot of time right now, and there’s not much more I can add to the conversations already happening. Suffice it to say, I’m extremely saddened to hear the news of James Kim’s passing. I was one of the few who had the EXTREMELY distinct pleasure to work with James at TechTV – and his “Lab Rats” segments were some of the best we did. I could always trust his advice, as he always seemed to know more than anybody else (in a day before Gizmodo and Engadget).

What’s so ironic about this tragedy is that James, of all people, was the person most likely to have gadgets that could have saved him. I don’t mean that as a “shoulda, coulda, woulda” statement, mind you – just that I knew James was about as geeky as they came. If anything, I believe he’d want us to learn from his passing; Duncan posted a handful of fantastic tips, should you find yourself in a similar situation some day. Please read James and Kati’s Web site for all the latest official information, including where to send your donations.

I’ve been scouring my archives to find a photo of us doing something together on Call for Help, but I can’t find one – and if anybody else has one, I’d certainly appreciate it.

[tags]death, deceased, gadget, gizmo, james kim, tragedy[/tags]