Previous occupier fraud spiraling out of control
22 June 2017
New research reveals that record numbers of home movers are falling victim to identity fraud. Over the last year, what is termed 'previous occupier' fraud, which occurs when the new residents of a house hijack the identities of previous occupiers in order to apply for credit and loans, has risen by a staggering 5.6 per cent.
However, it is likely that these figures are much higher as identity fraud, and in particular deceased previous occupier fraud, can go undetected for years.
Deceased previous occupier fraud is a stealth crime which is increasingly taking hold and costing the U.K. economy millions. We recently conducted a study amongst ex-offenders that revealed that stealing the identity of someone that has passed away is now considered one of the easiest ways to make significant amounts of money. Using the identity of a previous resident that is known to have passed away is even easier.
Latest statistics show that 84 in every 10,000 mortgage applications are bogus and similar levels exist for current account, credit card, car finance and loan applications. Its is predicted that at least a third of these will be using the identities of deceased individuals. Consequently it is crucial that organisations have processes in place to flag potentially fraudulent applications by screening them against fully verified lists of people that have passed away. Not only is this an effective way to save money, but it is also best practice under KYC and AML compliance.