Trying to fake one’s own death is more common than you probably thought. A family member of one of my former employers was caught in such a scheme, months after his grieving family held a funeral. These “pseudocides” are staged to escape debts, crimes, or bad relationships, or to get a fresh start as someone else. But it’s not a victimless crime. Life insurance payouts are very often a reason for a fake death, and insurance companies hire investigators for any suspicious case.
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“People do a remarkably limited amount of planning when it comes to faking their own deaths,” says Steven Rambam, a blunt-talking, New York P.I. who’s helped locate tens of thousands of missing and dubiously dead people over the course of his 40-year career. “Faking your own death is a full-time job, and I can guarantee you that if you slip up with even the slightest sign of life, we will find you.”