Dead Babys ID Stolen By Fraudsters
Sadly, even the dead cannot rest in peace, as fraudsters continue to steal the ID of peoples loved ones who have passed on. This week, a criminal gang was arrested after stealing the identity of a two year old baby who had died 16 years ago, using his birth certificate to help them defraud over 20,000. Leading ID fraud expert, Equifax, is warning families to be extra vigilant when dealing with matters after the death of a loved one, particularly as the credit crunch forces fraudsters to turn to extreme measures.
Most people wouldnt dream to imagine that fraudsters look through the obituary pages to identify new names to use for ID fraud, but it is a sad fact, confirms Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. In recent news reports, fraudsters have gone even further, by obtaining the birth certificates of deceased babies that would now be old enough to open a bank account, if they were still alive.
The criminals use the birth certificate, to apply for a driving licence, which they use to open student bank accounts, which offer substantial overdrafts, they then max out the account and move on to the next one, racking up huge debts along the way. This is an awful crime, which causes more hurt and upset at an already difficult time.
Whilst impersonating a baby who died 16 years ago is an extreme form of ID theft, we urge families who have suffered a loss to ensure they close all the deceaseds accounts - including banks, credit card and insurance companies. This will enable them to update their files and reduce the opportunities for fraudsters. Families should also keep all personal details for the deceased secure and shred personal documents that are no longer needed. And they should avoid putting too much detail into obituary notices.
Munroe concludes, In recognition of the growing trend for Deceased Fraud, the government has agreed to provide death records to organisations like credit reference agencies on a much more timely basis in a matter of a week rather than several months. However, even with this initiative in place relatives, executors and funeral directors should still be wary of the threat and look to take extra precautions.