Crackdown on ID fraud launchedIt aims to curb stealing details of the dead

17 January 2008

A scheme to crack down on criminals committing identity fraud by stealing dead people's details has been launched.

Law enforcement agencies, banks and other organisations can apply for official death registration information.

The aim is to clamp down on 'impersonation of the deceased' fraud.

Obituary columns

This is often committed by criminals who scour newspaper obituary columns to find out who has died, then track down information about them.

The deceased's identity is used to access existing bank, building society or credit accounts - and apply for new ones.

Death registration details will be released by the Registrars General for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to assist with investigations or prosecutions.

Vetting

The Registrars General said data would only be released to applicants who passed a rigorous vetting process.

Firms and agencies applying for access to death registration information will be charged a £5,000 application fee plus a £57,000 annual licence fee.

A spokesman for the Registrars General for England and Wales said: 'We anticipate there will be quite a bit of interest from the financial sector from organisations such as credit reference agencies and commercial organisations who have the fraud committed against them.

'We do anticipate that there will be interest from the private sector.'

ID fraud cost

Successful applicants will be sent a weekly electronic encrypted file by secure courier containing a list of deaths registered during the previous week.

The first death registration information is expected to be released in April this year. Applicants can be lodged for the service from today.

£1 billion a year

Cost to UK economy of ID fraud

Identity fraud - which includes impersonation of the deceased - costs the UK economy more than £1 billion per year.

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