Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 2011 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 > Impact of Identity Theft on Methods of Identification
American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e31820c29c3
Original Articles

Impact of Identity Theft on Methods of Identification

McLemore, Jerri MD*; Hodges, Walker BA†; Wyman, Amy F-ABMDI‡

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Abstract

Responsibility for confirming a decedent's identity commonly falls on the shoulders of the coroner or medical examiner. Misidentification of bodies results in emotional turmoil for the next-of-kin and can negatively impact the coroner's or medical examiner's career. To avoid such mishaps, the use of scientific methods to establish a positive identification is advocated. The use of scientific methods of identification may not be reliable in cases where the decedent had assumed the identity of another person. Case studies of erroneously identified bodies due to identity theft from the state medical examiner offices in Iowa and New Mexico are presented. This article discusses the scope and major concepts of identity theft and how identity theft prevents the guarantee of a positive identification.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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