Reponse to reader about proving fraud intent

Published: November 9, 2009 by Guest Contributor

By: Kennis Wong

It’s true that intent is difficult to prove. It’s also true that financial situations change. That’s why financial institutions have not, yet, successfully fought off first-party fraud. However, there are some tell-tale signs of intent when you look at the consumer’s behavior as a whole, particularly across all his/her financial relationships.

For example, in a classic bust out case, you would see that the consumer, with pristine credit history, applies for more and more credit cards while maintaining a relatively low balance and utilization across all issuers. If you graph the number of credit cards and number of credit applications over time, you would see two hockey-stick lines. When the accounts go bad, they do so at almost the same time. This pattern is not always apparent at the time of origination, that’s why it’s important to monitor frequently for account review and fraud database alerts.

On the other hand, consumers with financial difficulties have different patterns. They might have more credit lines over time, but you would see that some credit lines may go delinquent while others don’t. You might also see that consumers cure some lines after delinquencies…you can see their struggle of trying to pay.

Of course the intent “pattern” is not always clear. When dealing with fraudsters in fraud account management, even with the help of the fraud database, fraud trends and fraud alert, change their behaviors and use new techniques.