Posted on 30 May, 2017How identity fraudsters are preying on the social media accounts of the deceased
The latest statistics show that 84 per cent of UK adults are social media users with at least one active account. And it’s not just the younger generations, a quarter of over 65s log into a social media account daily. There is no denying that Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram et al are now an inexorable part of our lives. And as they become more entrenched consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with sharing their personal information online – much to the delight of identity fraudsters.
It takes just three pieces of information to steal a person’s identity – their name, date of birth and address – and these details can often be easily mined from our social media accounts. But fraudsters are not just after the personal information of the living, they are also using it in a more macabre way; as a method to take over the identities of people that have passed away.
Through obituaries and funeral records criminals are able to generate lists of people that have recently passed away and can use this information to search social media sites for their profiles in order to stitch together enough information to enable them to steal their identities. Once they have this data they can use it to open accounts in the deceased name and defraud thousands of pounds from retailers and credit providers. Deceased ID fraud is much harder to detect than the impersonation of someone that is living and is therefore very attractive to fraudsters. It is therefore crucial to protect the online identities of people that have passed away by deactivating their accounts. It is a thankless, emotionally exhausting task which requires contacting each social network and providing the relevant paperwork that proves that the person is deceased. Whilst it might be tempting to simply disable the account, it is much safer to delete it entirely and set up a memorial page as a place to store photos, memories and messages.
Deceased fraud is rife and consumers and businesses alike need the tools to protect themselves from this morally-corrupt crime. If you need advice on how to stop deceased identity fraud in either a personal or business capacity please give one of our deceased fraud experts a call on 01274 533 8888