Callcredit product director Graham Lund said: "Currently it is not industry practice to carry out a deceased persons check when someone applies for credit. By making it an integral part of our credit reports we are plugging a gap in the credit industryâs defences against fraudsters."
According to CIFAS, the UKâs fraud prevention service, impersonation of the dead is Britainâs fastest growing form of identity theft. From 15,000 cases in 2001, latest estimates suggest there were over 70,000 cases in 2004 and CIFAS is predicting the problem could soon reach 100,000 cases a year if no action is taken.
Chief executive of CIFAS Peter Hurst said: "The ability for lenders and insurers to check whether an applicant is dead is a very welcome development. New services like this will help to avoid the unwelcome trauma caused to bereaved partners and families who discover a dead person is being impersonated by criminals."
Callcreditâs Graham Lund added: "Fraudsters who impersonate the dead are not only costing the credit industry millions of pounds each year, they are also causing unimaginable grief and distress to the families of their victims. This is a significant step forward in tackling the problem."
Callcreditâs deceased check utilises a variety of industry sources of deceased records, including Halo and The Bereavement Register.
Callcredit is committed to protecting its customers against fraudsters. It was the first credit reference agency to introduce deceased persons checks into its identity verification services and is now the first agency to add deceased persons checks as part of its credit reports.
Callcredit recently demonstrated its forward thinking approach by announcing a partnership with Quova to use its GeoPoint geolocation service. The partnership will allow Callcreditâs clients, including online retailers and banks, a critical extra level of authentication by verifying the real-world location of online customers.