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Why a strategic PII policy is crucial for businesses

Jul 28, 2017 Philip Burgess

Why a strategic PII policy is crucial for businesses

Ensuring a people are who they say they are can be trickier than it seems. With identity theft and fraudulent activity on the rise, retailers offering finance and leasing options need to have the means to accurately check an applicant's personally identifiable information (PII).

The prevalence of identify theft

New technologies and innovative methods continue to provide routes for criminals to steal a person's identity. Although the switch to microchip-equipped credits in 2015 stemmed the tide, new account fraud has become the focus of identity thieves, according to the Insurance Information Institute. New account fraud happens when a person opens a financial account or fills out a credit application using stolen personally identifiable information.

Unfortunately, this isn't small potatoes crime either. Despite the industry's best efforts, the total number of fraud victims reached a record high in 2016, according to Javelin's 2017 Identify Fraud Study. After hovering between 12.6 million and 13.1 million victims between 2012 and 2015, 15.4 million people fell victim to identify fraud last year.

"Fraudsters caused $16 billion in losses, an increase of $0.7 billion over 2015."

This rise increased the haul of fraudsters, who caused $16 billion in losses, an increase of $700 million over 2015.

According to the Javelin study, new account fraud continues unabated and the criminals using this technique have become notably better at evading detection. Fifteen percent of victims discover the fraud only after checking their credit report, while 13 percent find out when a debt collector contacts them.

To counteract this trend, retailers need the means to gather more accurate and thorough information for consumer credit applicants.

How a strategic PII policy can help

Implementing a robust strategic personally identifiable information policy provides a means to further stem the tide of new account fraud. 

A simple background check might only reveal if a person has been convicted of a felony. But organizations cannot simply rely on this singular piece of data to determine whether the person they're offering a line of credit to plans to commit fraudulent activity with the new account. 

Microbilt's Identify Verification solution confirms more than 60 different aspects of an individual's PII data, making it a must-have for a strategic PII policy. This gives lenders comprehensive insight to track and reference whether the person is who they say they are. Some of the aspects that ID Verify checks include important aspects of an individual's personal history, such as:

  • Social Security number.
  • Date of birth.
  • Name/aliases.
  • Address.
  • All-known phone numbers.
  • Driver's license and more.

ID Verification allows retailers to gain more granular insight into the individuals attempting to open new consumer credit accounts or obtain a line of credit. This alternative credit check is far more all-encompassing than a simple review of a credit history.

Further, ID Verify also compares an applicant's history against such high-risk data repositories as Watchlist, which checks for instances of money laundering, most wanted, politically exposed persons and even international anti-terrorist sources.

Click here to learn more about Microbilt's Identify Verification products.