The Business of Identity Theft Fraud Rings

October 18, 2010 by Guest Contributor

By: Margarita Lim

You may be surprised to learn that identity theft isn’t just a crime committed by an individual or individuals. There are identity theft rings that are organized and operated like corporations. A recent Justice Department press release described such an operation in New Jersey that involved 53 individuals who took part in a known fraud activity called Bust Out Fraud.

Basically, the fraud ring purchased valid social security cards and then sold the social security cards to customers who then obtained driver’s licenses and other proof of identity-type cards. The fraud ring then built up the credit scores of these customers by adding them to existing credit card accounts. Once the customers with the fraudulent identities achieved good credit scores, then they opened their own fraudulent bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, etc.  The credit cards were used to make fraudulent purchases or rack up charges with vendors in co-hoots with the fraud ring and the fraudulent bank accounts were used to pay off the charge accounts or the charges went unpaid.

Fraud trends like these cost banks, credit card companies and many others millions of dollars – costs that ultimately get passed on to you and me, the consumers. Fortunately, Experian has Fraud Products that can help companies minimize fraud losses from Bust Out Fraud as well as other types of fraud. Our BustOut Score helps decrease bust out losses by predicting and detecting bust out frauds one to three months in advance of the event happening. In addition, we have Fraud Shield Indicators or fraud alerts available on credit reports that flag when there is a recent or new authorized user added to an established credit account.

Experian supports Identity Theft Prevention Programs by offering highly accurate consumer identity verification services. We’re not reliant solely on credit bureau data and are able to use multi-sourced data to confirm different components of a consumer’s identity – name, address, date of birth, etc. Our consumer authentication and fraud prevention product, Precise ID, and our knowledge based authentication product, Knowledge IQ, are highly respected in the marketplace for their reliability, quality and accuracy.