Credit reference agency Callcredit has stolen a march over its competitors by becoming the first of the three agencies to obtain rights to use two deceased datasets - Halo developed by Millennium plc and The Bereavement Register developed by The REaD Group - within its products and services.

Deceased data is gathered from a variety of sources including official government records, funeral directors, insurance companies and Royal Mail returns.

Callcredit's Development Director Graham Lund said:

"We are delighted to be able to offer our clients access to deceased data. Suppressing deceased people from marketing activity has always been important but now there is the growing problem of deceased identity fraud to deal with as well. Combining these deceased datasets, for the first time, will maximise the choice and coverage of deceased data and thereby minimise the risk of fraudsters opening new accounts in the name of deceased persons.

"According to CIFAS, in 2003 some 16,000 identity frauds involved fraudsters either assuming the identity of dead people or impersonating the recently deceased. That's a 27% increase on the 9,000 cases recorded in 2002.

"Deceased data is a natural addition to CallML, our highly successful identity verification service for companies that fall within the requirements of anti-money laundering legislation. It will also be available as part of a new ID checking service we are launching soon which any company can use."