News and Press

Joint account deceased fraud is a growing problem

New research from across the pond by Javelin Strategy and Research shows that identity fraud has risen by eight per cent over the past 12 months.

One of the key findings is that fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and creating new ways to steal the identity of people in order to fraudulently access funds.

For instance a relatively new approach is ‘joint account deceased fraud’. This is when criminals steal the personal details of a recently deceased individual to specifically access a joint account held in this person’s name.

The reason for this is that typically the security measures on a joint account are less stringent than on a one person account. The fraudster can spin a sob story to the bank or credit company about the other named account holder being ill and say that this person usually deals with the account so they (the fraudster) don’t know all the security information. Once they have access they can clear out the account or run up purchases to the credit limit.

You might ask why the bereaved person hasn’t informed the bank or credit provider about the death of the joint account holder, but research shows that in the event of a death informing organisations can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. There are at least 30 different organisations that need to contacted from governmental bodies, healthcare practitioners, financial services, insurers, utilities, automotive companies, social media platforms… the list is endless. Joint accounts are seen as being a low priority as the bereaved person is also a named account holder. Consequently, fraudsters have around six months following the death of a person to identify any joint accounts and make their move. This is why it is crucial for organisations to screen their customer data against fraud prevention products such as Halo to identity any suspicious activity of accounts in the name of known and verified deceased individuals.

For further information on joint account deceased fraud please contact Karen Pritchard on 01274 53 88 21.