The identities of nearly 2.5 million deceased Americans are used improperly to apply for credit products and services each year, according to a new study released today from ID Analytics’ ID:A Labs. This is the first study to examine the extent of fraudsters improperly using a deceased person’s identity to establish credit accounts.
The study compared the names, dates of birth (DOB) and Social Security numbers (SSNs) on 100 million applications during the first three months of 2011 to data in the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File (DMF) to find which applications used personally identifiable information (PII) associated with deceased individuals.
The study found:
- Identity Theft of the Dead – Nearly 800,000 deceased Americans’ identities are intentionally targeted for misuse on applications for credit products and cell phone services by fraudsters each year.
- Inadvertently Misusing SSNs of the Deceased – In approximately 1.6 million applications annually, an identity manipulator inadvertently used the SSN of a deceased person.
- Identity Theft of the Dying – Several hundred thousand potential misuses of dying people’s identities each year.
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