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First Look – ID Analytics and MyIDScore

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I got a briefing from ID Analytics recently – mostly to catch up on their new service for consumers My ID Score (https://myidscore.com).

ID Analytics has historically been focused on B2B services – helping companies identify applications that are potentially fraudulent. They have an ID Network that collects information from 6 of the top 10 credit cards, 4 of the top 5 wireless providers as well as mortgage brokers and retailers. This network has information on over 1Bn consumer transactions, gets 45M new identity elements per day and has records of over 2M frauds. They believe that this is the largest network of fraud information. All this information is used in their various products aimed at helping companies detect fraudulent applicants.

A typical ID Analytics client is a business trying to stop fraudulent applications. They use ID Analytics risk scores that show how likely it is that a particular applicant is not who they say they are – higher scores mean it is more likely to be a false application. ID Analytics calculate the score using the activity information in their network. Unusual activity in an account is a sign of fraud just as it is in credit card usage. For instance, multiple individuals with a single SSN, 5 different applications for phone numbers from the same person in a short time and so on. ID Analytics patented algorithms are using graph theory and link analysis to find both legitimate patterns and anomalies that imply someone is using false information. The proven premise is that legitimate people have patterns of behavior that are different from fraudsters and the score generated reflects this.

Rates of fraudulent applications are low but 1% of 10M applicants is still 100,000 so the cost can be high, especially as the potential loss per fraudulent application is also high as fraudsters will try to maximize their gain from each fraudulent profile. Because the percentage of applicants that are fraudulent is low, one of the most common uses of ID Analytics scores is to figure out the small number of applications to do additional verification on – challenge questions, personal visit etc. Besides providing scores, ID Analytics also provides knowledge-based authentication services (verification Q&A based on your profile) and other services. One of my favorites was a tool for detecting harm attributable to a data breach. This allows a company that has a data breach to see if the data is subsequently used for fraud (many data breaches are not fraud attacks but losses of data through incompetence). ID Analytics watches its network for manipulations of the stolen data so it can be used to commit fraud. For instance, moving people to a new address or changing the contact phone number to one that the fraudster controls.

But consumers are worried about identity theft also and identity theft information for consumers has tended to be focused on how individual consumers can protect their personal identity. The new site (http://www.myidscore.com) aims to provide a new kind of information to consumers. First it is an education site about the benefits of identity scoring to help consumers see the value of a score to estimate identity theft risk. Secondly the site can help stop fraud by engaging consumers and this also helps ID Analytics B2B customers. And finally ID analytics just likes to stop fraud. The identity score consumers get is an artifact of the same network – the same underlying data – but is made to be usable to a consumer. Companies want to know how likely it is that an applicant is not who they say they are but a consumer is looking for a probability that someone is using their personal data to commit fraud. Same data, different analytics.

A typical score is around 300 (mine was a bit lower than this) and 97-98% of people get low scores of this kind. The top 1% (with much higher scores) is about 16 times more likely to have been a victim of ID theft and the top scores are about 64x. ID Analytics wanted to provide actionable information so they refer people with high scores to the Identity Theft Resources Center, a not for profit that partners with ID Analytics and gives consumers the top 3 reasons for the high score and some specific events that contributed. The center also helps people resolve these issues.

ID Score is free, no risk to consumer, has a strong privacy policy and allows consumers to opt out. While almost everyone gets a low score I think you should check it out. http://www.myidscore.com.

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