back to article Arizona pulls death certs from website over ID theft fears

Arizona authorities have stopped publishing copies of death certificates on a website over concerns that the information might be used in identity theft scams. Maricopa County - which covers the state's largest city, Phoenix - discontinued the long-standing practice of posting digital copies of death certificates last month …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Would have thought easy access to the information made it easier to check the individual was deceased. But maybe only criminal types are smart enough to use the website. Overall though, I think it best that what is effectively private information, isn't quite that easy for all to view.

  2. John Macintyre


    "There is so much personal information on them: A mother's maiden name, what they died from,"

    Yeah, lets just ignore the obvious name, address, next of kin.. not sure if they put the burial location on there. Mothers maiden name is useful to a bank but not much use without the above.

    Maybe they could have just added a filter to it? Kinda like looking up your flight details which isn't secure but pretty well filtered, all they need is ask for the deceased surname, date of death and postcode or similar and you'll be able to pull it up. It's not completely secure but then neither are flight details, just that the likelihood of guessing flight date, flight number AND surname are pretty slim

  3. Stuart Gepp

    So it goes like this

    Crim: Can I have some credit, please?

    Bank: Tell me you name, address, DOB, mother's maiden name, etc

    Crim: <reads from death cert>

    Bank: All that appears correct except you're dead. How much would you like?

    If banks are that stupid they deserve all they get - its just a shame us regular punters get to pay for it in the end.

  4. Christoph Silver badge

    So does that mean...

    If you copy the information on a deceased person and use that for identity theft, does that make you a dead ringer?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    would someone please explain

    Why would a mother's maiden name be on ANYONE's death cert? There is no reason for that type of information to be there at all....something like first name, middle initial, last name, last known address and note an entry to the SSN death rolls but with no SSN posted.

    What kind of idiots are these? (that's rhetorical, but thanks anyway)

  6. RW

    Interesting conflict of objectives

    Yes, having death certs online may facilitate ID theft, but otoh vital statistics records (birth, death, marriage, divorce, etc) aren't just kept for no good reason. Such matters are, after all, a matter of *public* record.

    I imagine genealogically minded Arizonans are a bit miffed that this convenient source of information has been shut down.

  7. Solomon Grundy

    @would someone please explain

    Mothers maiden name is there for historical purposes. To aid research regarding genealogy and shit like that in the future when all this IT crap has failed and been converted into something useful.

    It's actually the failure of the IT community to properly secure personal information that has made your mothers maiden name a risk.

  8. Jay Giusti

    So, newspaper obituaries should now read:

    SMITH, BESSYE, [age deleted], nee [maiden name deleted], of [address deleted], New York State, formerly of the [deleted] neighborhood of Boston, beloved wife of [deleted] years to Mary Beth [last name deleted]; loving mother of [ ], [ ] and [ ], proud grandmother to seven, [ ], [ ], ....

  9. Anonymous Coward

    That's nothing..

    The bishop of Kerry has asked that similar details not be published to prevent Mormons from baptising dead Catholics..

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Walking then

    A gentle stroll to the public records office as usual. My "friend" can choose which of his three passports to travel on. Fun bit will be attaching those identities to high tech ID systems. As ever proving who I am is open to the forger, who the ID card belongs to is not the issue. The new ID cards for the UK seem to work on locking a physical trait (Iris pattern) to a person. All very hi tech, but who is the owner of that Iris? That will be established from the existing paperwork. As it stands my "friend" can collect three ID cards, all linking his Iris pattern to his three fully papered identities. Prior to any super ID system in the UK, expect a surge in business at tradition forgers.

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