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Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to prevent fraud against private enterprises by persons impersonating individuals known to be dead. (258288)

Under the Police and Justice Act 2006 and the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006, the Registrars General for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can disclose death registration information to assist in the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of offences.

Under the Disclosure of Death Registration Information (DDRI) scheme, the supply of death registration records to vetted organisations commenced on 6 October 2008. The scheme is administered by the General Register Office for England and Wales on behalf of the three Registrars General. Six organisations are currently in receipt of a weekly supply of death registration records, and further applications to receive the data are being processed. The information is being used to prevent and detect fraudulent applications for financial gain. Early results show that pension funds, banks and mortgage companies have been using these data to check against loan and credit card applications, insurance payouts and pensions.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) has for some years matched death data against passport records and identified a number of fraudulently issued passports, as well as stopping fraudulent applications made using such identities. Close liaison with law enforcement agencies in taking action against those responsible would include consideration of wider criminality, including the impact on private enterprise, particularly the financial sector.