Quiring Monuments wants to put QR codes on headstones. This is the one on David Quiring's grave marker.

Quiring Monuments wants to put QR codes on headstones. This is the one on David Quiring's grave marker.

by Jennifer Sawyer

Are we ready for QR codes on our gravestones?

Death and the procedure in which we choose to bury our loved ones have not changed much over the years. For those people who decide on a burial rather than a cremation  purchase a headstone or grave marker. Grave markers contain basic information about the   deceased; name, birth and death year and perhaps a short message, that is until now.

 A Seattle-based company, Quiring Monuments is creating burial markers that include a scannable, stamp-like image called a “quick read” — or QR code. Smartphone users can scan the code where they will be directed to a website about the departed. The website contains videos, his or her obituary, recorded dialogue messages, and still photographs. Families can add new content as they see fit. Initially this service is included for free with the purchase of a marker and updates to the site range from $50-$60. Anyone with a smart phone can scan the image and time warp with the dead. “QR codes are a wonderful way for loved ones to keep the memories alive for those they have lost”.

As with anything there is a flip side to the coin or code in this case. Adding QR codes to grave markers creates an endless playground for identity thieves and imposters. More than 2,000 identities are stolen from the dead every day; nearly 1 million every year. Identity thieves use key pieces of information in their attack on the dead such as birthdates and obituary notices. Both of which are freely available to those families who have decided to implement the QR code. No more having to wade through microfilm or spend countless hours on the internet; thieves just scan and go.

Social engineering – the art of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information plays a large part in identity theft both for the living and the dead. With free access to the deceased personal information such as personal likes and interests, favorite hangouts, close friends names, former employer and so on, thieves now have even more necessary data in which to hijack an identity and at a bargain rate too; you as the family or spouse have now tripled your chances for thieves to steal your identity while they are at it.

You have to ask yourself this if you find yourself in the position to make a decision about adding QR codes to the grave marker of a loved one or are making plans for your own departure: Is the ability to share with the world memories worth the risk? Are memories best left to the head and to the heart of those who will respect them the most?

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