As expected, financial institutions and other corporations must surmount varying challenges and risks as a natural course of business, with fraud being the one of the biggest culprits. The recent and devastating Equifax data breach should remind us all that our sensitive, personally identifiable information (PII) is at risk, and is viewed as a highly valuable commodity by identity thieves and fraudsters.

Criminals are increasingly targeting consumers’ PII and then using the stolen data to facilitate identity theft, Ponzi schemes, fraud, and other white-collar crimes. As Gartner writes, stolen consumer data can be sold and resold on the dark web, used to update existing stolen identity records, or even used to take over existing accounts (bank, brokerage, phone service, retirement and Bitcoin wallets). These instances trickle into the further risk of the data being used by foreign nations who plan to disrupt or steal from U.S for a variety of nefarious reasons.

Financial institutions, corporations, government agencies, and other entities that processes applications for a service are at risk of receiving compromised PII. While no service, technology, or system can prevent the inadvertent processing and use of compromised PII, there are advanced data science solutions on the market that can assist in enhancing fraud defenses.

White-collar and fraud offenses continue to rise in the United States as criminals seek to prey upon hard-working citizens, rather than put in an honest day’s work. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were more than 3.1 million consumer fraud complaints received in 2016. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) United States Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Report for 2016 stated that DOJ prosecuted 4,981 cases, involving 7,498 defendants for white-collar/fraud-related offenses.

The data breaches, coupled with the horrific recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, are providing fraudsters with ample opportunity to victimize and re-victimize at-risk parties. The DOJ reported last week that they had received more than 400 fraud complaints related to hurricane scams after Harvey and Irma, to date.

Financial institutions and other companies can’t stop all fraud, but they can make it more difficult for stolen PII to be used. One of the most effective methods in keeping fraud at bay is to utilize the latest technologies and innovations on the market.

Available advanced data science technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, can assist all types of firms to process account openings, loan applications, insurance applications/claims, unemployment claims, and other access point-related documents. Furthermore, AI can analyze massive amounts of related business data to find hidden commonalities and linkages such as addresses, e-mails, telephone numbers, relatives, and other PII.


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