Death records released to combat identity theft
by Gill Montia
Story link: Death records released to combat identity theft
The Government has taken new steps to combat identity fraud and will henceforth be releasing details of all people who have died in the UK to credit rating agencies and other vetted organisations.
Encrypted files will be sent out on a weekly basis by the General Register Office for England & Wales and equivalent bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
They will contain details of around 12,000 people who have passed away.
Fraudsters commonly use obituary columns to steal the identities of the deceased and then open bank accounts, commit benefit fraud or embark on more sinister forms of crime using identities gathered in this way.
Home Office minister with responsibility for identity fraud, Meg Hillier, says the new measures will not only help to combat fraud but will also reduce the impact of the crime on relatives of the deceased, who have to deal with the consequence of their loved ones’ identities being stolen.
Peter Hurst, chief executive of Cifas, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, warns that no-one should be complacent about identity fraud, adding that where a victim’s identity has been seriously compromised the process of correcting the deception can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating.
According to Cifas, in 2007 its members were aware of 65,043 victims of identity fraud.
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