[COMSERV, INC. Home Page]
 


COMSERV:
About COMSERV, INC.
Why choose COMSERV?
About E-Mail Fraud & Phishing
Request Information
Send Comments

Products and Services:
Death Information System
SSN Validation
Secure File Transfer - Authorized Users Only
 



The Death Information System (DIS) is a computerized system containing a comprehensive data base of information on deceased individuals. COMSERV pioneered the unique DIS concept in 1980 with a data base of approximately 23 million individuals. Since 1980, the DIS data base has substantially grown by receiving continual updates from Social Security Administration (SSA), Federal and State Government, commercial, private and unique methodologies. See the DIS FAQ.

In order to ensure the DIS data base is current and accurate with every possible source of death information, we request our clients who utilize the DIS provide us with any death information in addition to the data to be investigated against the DIS. We also require our clients to notify us of any errors found in the DIS so that we can make any necessary correction to further improve the integrity of the DIS. The process of exchanging death information is analogous to that of the banking and consumer credit industries where companies act as a repository for consumer credit information and charge users, such as a bank, a fee to access consumer credit information on individuals. This process works effectively because the users also provide updated consumer credit information from their files and help keep the centralized data base accurate and current. COMSERV understands the benefits of exchanging information, and this is why our DIS data base is more comprehensive and accurate than other data bases by at least 30 percent.

In addition to reporting death information, the DIS validates the social security number (SSN) to determine if the SSN falls within the current issuance range administered by the SSA. The DIS will also identify all other types of improper SSNs, based upon SSA standards, and report the state to which the SSN was assigned and SSN issuance date(s). SSN validation provides essential information at no additional cost. Please see SSN Validation or the DIS report samples for further information.

Some typical uses of DIS are as follows:

PENSION & BENEFIT PLANS - COMSERV has conducted millions of investigations of pension, annuity, workers compensation, unemployment and other benefit plan records using DIS to detect improper payments sent to deceased persons. Many plans (Retirement, Unemployment, Pension, Welfare, etc.) have a fiduciary obligation to ensure that the plans are properly managed. The DIS assists plan managers in the following problem areas:
Detection of Erroneous Payments - The DIS has identified many cases where payments to deceased benefit recipients have been illegally cashed by heirs or friends of the deceased recipient. In cases of benefit programs, the DIS detects recipients who fraudulently file claims using the identity of a deceased person. Customer investigations based on DIS reports have uncovered unlawful pension payments and use of SSNs for virtually every customer. Some of these cases involve fraud and many years of payments to deceased recipients. Each such case typically involves many times the DIS processing fee.
Reduction of Retirement Contributions - The DIS has identified vested employees who have terminated their employment and subsequently died. In each case where this occurs, the plan administrator can reduce plan contributions by thousands of dollars.
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS - Banks, savings and loan associations and credit unions are liable for money withdrawn from accounts of deceased persons. For years these financial institutions have utilized strict controls to maintain security over funds deposited and to evaluate customer credit. However, little or nothing is being done to identify when a customer has died and if the SSNs in their files are accurate.

Attempts are made to minimize this liability by such means as reviewing local obituaries, depending on family members for notification, and signature cards, but these procedures are cumbersome, costly, and not always effective. The absence of an inexpensive and effective method to detect improper SSNs and when customers have died has resulted in unnecessary legal and administrative expenses, as well as financial losses. The following are some specific examples of how DIS can be used by financial institutions.

Social Security and Pension Checks - John Doe has a checking account at a bank. John's pension check is directly deposited to this account. John dies and his wife Jane does not inform either the bank or the Pension Plan of his death, but someone continues to withdraw funds from the account. Several years later the Pension Plan discovers that John is dead and requests full recovery from the bank. The bank pays the claim, and expends attorney time and administrative expense to recover the loss.
Credit Cards - John applies for credit with an improper SSN or in the name of a deceased person. Normal credit bureau verification procedures do not reveal any credit history problem, or such history has been purged because the account is inactive. John is granted the loan or credit card and is never heard from again.
Trust Accounts - A bank's trust department administers trust accounts for corporate pension plans and individual estates. It would be beneficial to both the bank and the originator of the trust account to know when someone within the trust has died.
Loans - Jane has a loan from a bank and dies. Assets in her estate are liquidated before her death is discovered, and the bank is forced to write off the loan.
Wills John dies and indicates in his will that he is leaving his estate to charity, and not to his wife. John's wife improperly withdraws all the money from his accounts before the bank is notified of his death. The charity files a law suit against the bank to effect recovery.

RESEARCH PROJECTS - The DIS has been used to extract, sort, match and summarize death information using various criteria for mortality prediction, medical, FDA and other Government regulations, child support, estate settlements, legal requirements, genealogy, skip tracing, and other research purposes. For example, a study by an Ivy League college had a list of Naval personnel who served on submarines. DIS was used to identify those Navy personnel who had died so that follow-up research could determine if the cause of death was related to submarine service.
MAILING LISTS - Most mailers want to prevent mailings in the name of a deceased person to the family of that person. This is negative advertising. In addition, postage costs are wasted when mail is sent to a deceased person and returned by the post office. The DIS can be used to purge deceased persons from the mailing lists.
VOTER REGISTRATION FILES - Did you know that dead people are voting? Unless each State utilizes the DIS to investigate their files, dead people will continue to vote.
OTHER USES - The DIS can be used as a tool by federal and state regulatory agencies and auditors to purge voter registration rolls; audit banks and other financial institutions; and verify that required estate tax returns have been filed. The DIS has also been instrumental in genealogy studies.


DIS HIGHLIGHTS

Largest database in the nation. The DIS data base contains millions of death records, which represents the largest file of this type in the United States. COMSERV pioneered this service in 1980 and has been collecting death information since that time from SSA, Federal and State Government, commercial, private and unique methodologies. This is one of the reasons why the DIS data base is larger and more accurate than any other data base by at least 30 percent. Try us one time and you will be convinced;
Continual updates. The DIS is updated on a continual basis to provide the most current information;
Prompt and efficient service. The DIS investigation is usually completed within seven (7) business days after receipt of your records. In most cases, the investigation is completed within three (3) business days;
Three (3) diverse report designs. For maximum flexibility, COMSERV offers three (3) DIS report designs from which to select. DIS reports may be printed using a customer selected report design with records being sorted in any order at no additional cost. By default, report design one (1) is used to print the DIS report with records sorted in SSN order. If this report design does not meet your requirements, please inform us of your report design (Excel, other) preference;
Automated obituary lookup. If the SSN on the DIS report is displayed as a hyperlink (blue and underlined), click on the SSN to perform a nationwide public search for an obituary listing. (Disclaimer: Due to many reasons, this automated search may not find all obituaries that have occurred.) If extended name information is listed on the DIS report, the first occurrence of the last and first name will be utilized to search for the obituary. The date ranges that will be searched are based on the date of death. Automated obituary lookup is available on dates of death on, or after January 1, 2000. If no obituary is found, or too many obituaries are reported, you may try refining the search criteria by changing the Last Name, First Name, and Date Range. Please click here to try the automated obituary lookup using Item Number 2 of the default DIS report design 1. Although all of the dates of death are old on these DIS report designs, COMSERV is providing the capability to try the automated obituary lookup;
Probabilistic DIS investigation. The DIS investigation can be conducted using probability logic and scoring/threshold technologies. This process is also known as "fuzzy" matching through a data filtering process;
Computerized DIS investigation results. COMSERV offers other computerized match files of the DIS investigation. These files provide the capability to cross-match the DIS investigation results with your data files, produce your own custom reports, create spreadsheets or graphs, etc;
Previous match indication. If DIS determines that the SSN was previously submitted, the character "*" will be displayed in the second position under the Record Status report heading of the DIS report;
Name and date of birth difference identifier. The DIS will compare the name and date of birth in the DIS database with the name and date of birth from your files. The comparison result will produce up to twelve (12) different identifiers ("codes") that are explained in detail on the DIS report. The name and date of birth difference code will be displayed in the third position under the Record Status report heading of the DIS report;
SSA Verified or Proof of Death Indicator. The DIS report includes the SSA death record "V"erified or "P"roof of death code. The "V" code means that the death record is verified with a family member or someone acting on behalf of the family. The "P" code means that a death certificate has been observed. SSA Disclaimer: Even though a "V" or "P" may be listed, adverse action against any individual without further verification is not recommended. If the death record was obtained from the SSA and the "V" or "P" code is available, or COMSERV has received verification or proof on a death record obtained from another source, the "V" or "P" code will be displayed in the fifth position under the Record Status report heading;
SSN issuance validation. The DIS detects if the SSN falls within the current issuance ranges administered by the SSA. It will also identify all other types of improper SSNs based upon SSA standards. If DIS determines the SSN to be improper, the character "I" will be displayed in the first position under the Record Status report heading. The SSN issuance validation feature provides an essential secondary check at no additional cost. Please see SSN Validation for detailed information on the necessity of SSN validation;
SSN issuance information. Each DIS report displays the state where the SSN was issued. Other DIS support files contain detailed SSN issuance information. This adds an additional feature in assisting our clients in their investigation of the apparent death;
Date of Birth and SSN Issuance Date Verification. The DIS will utilize the provided date of birth to compare this date against the highest SSN issuance date. If DIS determines that the SSN was issued prior to the provided date of birth, the character "X" will be displayed in the fourth position under the Record Status report heading of the DIS report. COMSERV recommends additional research on these types of anomalies; and
Current age, and age at the time of death. The DIS report displays the current age, and age at the time of death.


DIS COSTS

DIS investigation costs are based on the number of records to be investigated and the contract duration. COMSERV offers "try-before-you-buy" for new customers and discounts for larger amounts of records and multi-year contracts. Please contact us at the telephone number listed on the About Us page, or by using the Comments page, to discuss your requirements, and we will be happy to provide you with a verbal or written cost proposal.

© 1995- COMSERV, Inc. All Rights Reserved.