February 8, 2024

This is an interesting article about “obituary pirates” that was brought to our attention by a client with concerns about how this phenomenon might muddy the waters for finding accurate obituary data.   

At Veritas, we appreciate the challenge of sorting good data from bad, which is why we triangulate our mortality records from multiple sources beyond published obituaries, including memorials, internments, state and federal sources like the Social Security Administration, and more. When we do source death records from obituaries, they have derived them from what we believe are more legitimate sources like funeral homes rather than unsubstantiated news postings. Veritas curated datasets that we make available to our partners only have records that have been validated by comparing multiple sources and where we can confirm the four most important variables: first name, last name, date of birth, and date of death of the deceased.  

Regarding this article, when we went looking into our database for Mr. Sachman’s record, we found that we had an incomplete record because his date of birth is not mentioned in the official obituary, meaning that this record is actually not included in the external reporting to our partners. Notably, we also didn’t see any records that were created from any of the fake obituaries. With important referential data sets like ours, it’s critical that data providers implement these types of safeguards to their data gathering, validation, and reporting to ensure that only high-quality information is disseminated. 

If you want to learn more about our Fact of Death dataset then please email us via sales@veritasdataresearch.com or message us on our website.

The New York Times Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/25/nyregion/obituary-pirates-matteo-sachman.html?unlocked_article_code=1.QU0.MHzZ.c-Lb3xsZmdhz&smid=em-share  

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