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The dead may go to a better place, but their junk mail certainly doesn't

Junk mail still sent to the deceased is both upsetting and potentially dangerous
Junk mail still sent to the deceased is both upsetting and potentially dangerous

Bereaved families in Kent were bombarded with more than 1.4million pieces of junk mail addressed to dead loved ones last year.

Figures released by The Deceased Preference Service (DPS) show that the dead in the county continued to receive enough junk mail to fill 69 dustbins in 2007 – including pre-approved credit card applications, catalogues and special offers.

Thanet – or the Isle of the Dead as it was once known - received the most junk mail address to the deceased, with 182,312 items sent out, or 3,506 a week.

Canterbury was a close second with 162,968 in a year, where as Dartford got off lightly compared to the rest of Kent, with only 76,128 departed members of the community being contacted by post.

And all this is on top of the 142.4million pieces of regular junk mail that dropped through the county's letter boxes in one year.

The research by the DPS, which removes deceased individuals’ names from mailing lists, found that if more companies were more vigilant about who they sent letters to, they could save up to £500,000 per week in lost marketing revenue and reduce the impact to the environment.

More worringly, the constant stream of letters to the dead is not only upsetting for loved ones, but is also a lucrative source of information for identity fraudsters who costs tax payers millions every year.

Manager Karen Webster said: “Offers through the mail can be extremely welcome and useful, but not when they are sent to people that have died.

“Not only can mail of this kind serve as a very painful reminder of the loss experienced by the families that are left behind, but it can also lead to untold horrors if that person’s identity goes on to be stolen.

“Companies need to realise just how insensitive they are being, but also become more responsible in light of the growing trend for ID fraud.”

Consumers can register the name and address of loved ones that have passed away free of charge at www.deceasedpreferenceservice.co.uk or by ringing 0800 068 44 33.

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