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Arizona death notices taken offline on ID fraud concerns

Arizona county official cites identity fraud risk in pulling death certificates off the Web.

Digital copies of death certificates have been removed from the Web site of Maricopa County in Arizona because they could be used for identity fraud, The Arizona Republic reported on Wednesday.

"There is so much personal information on them: a mother's maiden name, what they died from," said Helen Purcell, recorder for Maricopa County, which covers the state capital, Phoenix.

The county had received complaints from people about the posting of the information for years and removed them last month, she said. The state has one of the highest identity fraud rates in the country.

The County Recorder, which archives real estate records online, requires that death certificates be recorded when a property owner terminates a joint-tenancy deed after another owner has died.

Copies of recorded death certificates can still be viewed but request forms require an applicant's name, address, phone number, and notarized signature.