'Dead' post causing misery to Devon's bereaved

PUBLISHED: 11:28 17 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:21 15 June 2010

ADVICE is being offered to the bereaved after 660,000 items of junk mail were addressed to dead people in Devon last year.

ADVICE is being offered to the bereaved after 660,000 items of junk mail were addressed to dead people in Devon last year.

Data management company The REaD Group says the Devon is being targeted more than any other county in the South West and that the unwanted mail is giving a "disturbing new twist to the term life after death".

Adding further insult to injury, valuable personal

information contained on post, including name, address and

date of birth, is increasingly being intercepted by

identity fraudsters - so much so that CIFAS, the UK's fraud

prevention service, now lists Impersonation of the Dead

(IOD) as Britain's fastest-growing identity crime, with

reported cases increasing by an alarming 66 per cent since

January.

This distressing statistic means that upwards of

70,000 families across the country are experiencing the pain

of having their deceased loved one's identity 'hijacked' by

criminals.

"To lose someone close to us is upsetting enough, but to see

their identity stolen by criminals is perhaps the ultimate

indignity,'" said The REaD Group's chief executive Mark Roy.

"While the Ministry of Justice recently ignored Information

Commissioner Richard Thomas' calls for tougher sentencing

laws for perpetrators of IOD and data fraud in favour of

unenforceable two-year jail terms, I'm calling on all

Devon households to join together to help stop this

upsetting and insidious crime wave.'"

You can control the amount of jumk mail received by registering a deceased loved one's name with

www.thebereavementregister.org.uk - a free service which

removes the names and addresses of people who have passed

away from companies' mailing lists, telemarketing files and

databases;

Other tips include: registering with a junk mail control service such as

www.itsmypost.com or www.mpsonline.org.uk and displaying a 'No Junk Mail' sign on their letterbox or

door.

"The onus isn't solely on householders however," added Mr

Roy. "As only 42 per cent of UK companies have any form of

data quality strategy in place, it's incumbent on every

mailing organisation - businesses, charities, clubs and

community groups - to regularly clean their databases of

deceased name and address information, gone-aways (people

who have moved house) and mail preference service

registrants. Only by combining community and business

efforts will we be able to stop junk mail abuse - to the

benefit of consumers, the economy and the environment

alike.


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