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Home Office death list 'stops ID fraud'

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The Home Office today said its new weekly register of deaths mailout is "hastening the demise of a cruel type of identity fraud" by catching pension cheats who impersonate dead people.

So far four "carefully vetted" organisations have been approved by the General Register Office (GRO) - part of the Identity and Passport Service - to recieve copies of 12,000 dead people's personal details each week. It allows specialised "mortality screening" firms to check whether pension claims are legit.

Junior minister Meg Hillier said: "The use of death records in this way will have a dramatic impact on fraudsters abusing people's deaths - a crime which causes financial and personal distress to both businesses and individuals alike."

Faraday Tracing Bureau is one of the early users of the GRO list, and carries out checks for 200 pension firms. Sales director Chris Rattenbury said: "Firms undertaking mortality screening were finding on average that one in four hundred pensions were being claimed fraudulently sometimes for as long as ten years.

"This new process will stop this kind of fraud completely."

The other mortality screeners so far approved are Tracesmart, Synectics Solutions and Experian.

The scheme began at the end of September under new data sharing powers assumed by the GRO under the Police and Justice Act 2006. The vetting criteria and list of eligible organisations are here. ®

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