SAN DIEGO, Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- There are more than 10,000 identity fraud rings in the U.S. according to a new study released today by ID Analytics' ID:A Labs. An identity fraud ring is a group of people actively collaborating to commit identity fraud. This study is the first to investigate the interconnections of identity manipulators and identity fraudsters to identify rings of criminals working in collaboration.
While many of these fraud rings are made up of two or more career criminals, surprisingly, others are family members or groups of friends. The ring members may be either stealing victims' identities or improperly sharing and manipulating personal identifying information such as dates-of-birth (DOB) and Social Security numbers (SSNs) on applications for credit and services.
The ID Analytics study examined more than a billion applications for bankcards, wireless services and retail credit cards and found identity fraud rings attacking all three industries, with wireless carriers suffering from the most fraudulent activity. Georgia and South Carolina were two noted hotbeds of fraudulent activities across all three industries. Two bankcard fraud rings in Gainesville and Orlando, Florida each filed 200 applications.
Other findings of the study include:
- Hotbeds for Fraud Rings—States with the highest numbers of fraud rings include Alabama, the Carolinas, Delaware, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. The three-digit ZIP codes with the most fraud rings observed are areas around Washington DC; Tampa, Fla.; Greenville, Miss.; Macon, Ga.; Detroit; and Montgomery, Ala.
- Fraud in the Countryside—While many fraud rings occur in cities, a surprisingly high number were also found in rural areas of the country.
- Bonding over Identity Manipulation—A large number of families are working together in fraud rings, even using each other's SSNs and DOBs. However, rings made up of friends are more common, with the majority of fraud rings made up of members with different last names.
"In this latest research, we have taken a broader approach, looking at connections among bad people rather than studying individual activity," said Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer of ID Analytics. "This information enables us to build new variables into our fraud models so we can help our customers to make better decisions and improve protection for consumers."
Each fraud ring can be examined in detail, showing the conspirators' locations, ages and relationships. For example, ID:A Labs identified a family of five in Florida involved in a fraud ring for more than three years. The family, with ages ranging from 24 to 37, had filed at least 130 fraudulent applications, using more than eight SSNs and 11 DOBs during that time period.
Understanding the Methodology
Leveraging data within ID Analytics' ID Network®, ID:A Labs looked at approximately 1.7 billion identity risk events including applications for credit cards, wireless phones, payday loans, utilities, and other financial services credit products. It also examined changes in personal identifying information among accounts such as changes in name, address, DOB and SSN. This information is supplemented with authorization requests and other third-party data. The study examined data in the ID Network from January 2009 to September 2012.
About ID:A Labs
ID:A Labs reveals important trends in consumer behavior by examining identity use to help organizations better manage both the risk and opportunity of an individual consumer. ID:A Labs is a multidisciplinary group of mathematicians, computer scientists, economists, financial experts, cognitive scientists and advisors from ID Analytics and other respected institutions.
ID:A Labs conducts research and analysis in the areas of identity fraud, credit risk, marketing and segmentation, authentication and identity proofing. ID:A Labs leverages the ID Network®, one of the nation's largest network of cross-industry consumer behavioral data. Backed by patented technology, world-class analytics and the ID Network, ID:A Labs researches, analyzes and reports on developments in consumer behavior, identity and credit-related issues, the regulatory landscape and innovations in analytics around modeling and machine learning.
About ID Analytics, Inc.
ID Analytics is a leader in consumer risk management with patented analytics, proven expertise, and real-time insight into consumer behavior. By combining proprietary data from the ID Network®—one of the nation's largest networks of cross-industry consumer behavioral data—with advanced science, ID Analytics provides in-depth visibility into identity risk and creditworthiness. Every day, many of the largest U.S. companies and critical government agencies rely on ID Analytics to make risk-based decisions that enhance revenue, reduce fraud, drive cost savings, and protect consumers. ID Analytics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of LifeLock, Inc. Please visit us at www.idanalytics.com.
ID Analytics and ID Network are registered trademarks of ID Analytics, Inc. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
SOURCE ID Analytics