With a few mouse clicks, exploiting death for the purposes of identity fraud is easy and very profitable work.

Newspaper obituaries used to be the perfect place for an identity thief to obtain a potential victim’s full name, maiden name, date of birth, place of birth, place of residence at death, mother’s maiden name, and even where the victim went to school and was employed.

The idea is either to siphon funds from the accounts of the deceased, or to build new IDs around their personal details in order to build credit and make a bigger haul down the road.

With a few mouse clicks, exploiting death for the purposes of identity fraud is now even easier and very profitable work.

W2’s new Mortality checking service enables businesses to cut such ID fraud at account opening.

Although statistics from the UK market are limited, an estimated 2.5 million Americans are victim to this type of fraud annually; 800,000 of which were used to open lines of credit or secure a mobile phone plan.

This type of ID theft is often committed by someone who knows the deceased person, allowing them easier access to the necessary documentation needed to pull off the crime.

Ghosting is the term given to this form of identity theft.

However … stealing IDs from the deceased is often missing in company’s fraud prevention strategy.

You would think that financial institutions would know when someone has sadly passed away.

Not always.

If the identity information is accurate and the person’s account is in good standing and has not been halted, the deceased person’s ID appears like a good customer.

It can take months before they discover that the account has been compromised.

Using the UK’s most up to date mortality register, the W2 Mortality checking service allows businesses to check for ‘impersonation’ (deceased identity fraud) which remains, one of the fastest-growing type of fraud in the UK.

Leveraging over 10 million fully verified deceased records (updated on a weekly basis), the W2 Mortality checking service enables businesses to put effective due diligence measures in place to prevent overpayments on pensions or loans.

The Mortality register checking can be combined with standard KYC checks to provide complete due diligence coverage.

 

 

Gary Pine

Chief Product & Marketing Officer at W2 Global Data Solutions Ltd.
Gary Pine

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