Can a Single Data Point Help Combat Fraud?

TransUnion
Blog Post04/11/2018

More isn’t always better. That’s especially true when it comes to data. In a fraud investigation, quick, fresh and actionable information is of the utmost importance, and more data can often mean more hassle. You need the right data, for the right person, right now.

Whether it be a law enforcement case, an insurance claim or a corporate due diligence investigation, successfully combating fraud boils down to early detection and prevention—just how early is dependent on your data. The better the quality of the data, the more clear and actionable the picture becomes. And while access to the right data sources is imperative, a single, verifiable data point–a mobile number, address, license plate, etc.–could potentially crack the case. Just one piece of data can authenticate information; uncover connections between people, businesses and assets, and detect fraud, potentially saving your organization from significant losses.

What Your License Plate Number Says About You

License plate numbers reveal a tremendous amount of information. For example, in an insurance fraud investigation, an investigator will often use a license plate number to run a vehicle sighting search to help prove insurance rate evasion or fraud. These searches can connect a satellite image from Google MapsTM mapping service with the date and time of the vehicle sighting, establishing patterns of behavior between a residence and place of employment or another place of interest. A vehicle sighting search can help prove a vehicle had damage prior to a reported incident, or that while a car’s owner resides in one state, the vehicle is registered in another state that has less costly insurance rates.

License plate numbers can also be useful in detecting occupancy and reverse occupancy fraud for mortgage originators. Because mortgage lenders typically provide lower rates on owner-occupied homes versus investment properties, fraudsters often claim a property is a primary residence, when in fact, they’re living elsewhere and the property is income producing. In a case of occupancy fraud, a single license plate number can facilitate a vehicle sighting report, uncovering a pattern of behavior and helping to prove or disprove the applicant’s claim of residency.

On the flip side, the same license plate data can help detect reverse occupancy fraud. In this case, borrowers use the potential rental income of an investment property to qualify and obtain a mortgage, though they actually plan to use the property as a primary residence. The intelligence derived from the plate number and subsequent vehicle sightings report would quickly establish a pattern of behavior and help uncover the truth.

A Mobile Phone Number Can Reveal More Than You Think

In the world of online lending, synthetic identity fraud and loan stacking are becoming more prevalent and easier than ever to perpetrate. Inauthentic (synthetic) borrowers take advantage of the lack of communication between financial institutions by applying for multiple loans from numerous lenders within a short timeframe&endash;with no intent to repay. The number and timing of these applications can render this fraud nearly undetectable, as fraudsters’ quick submission of multiple applications capitalizes on routine delays between transactions and new inquiries. Depending on how quickly each lender performs its due diligence, other loans and applications may not be discovered until it’s too late. That’s where the right mobile number can make all the difference.

For an online lender, a fraud investigator or a collections agent, a verifiable mobile phone number can prove even more valuable than a Social Security Number when preventing and detecting synthetic identity fraud. Up-to-date, mobile phone numbers help identify and verify addresses associated with a subject, expediting the due diligence process and mitigating some of the risk associated with the usual loan approval lag. Cell phone number data now enables investigators to gather deep insights about an individual, as well as their known or possible associates, often quickly revealing suspicious activity or fraudulent identities. Cell phone data can help uncover other addresses for the subject in question, the cell carrier, and phone records showing data derived from SSNs.

Beyond the traditional data available from a phone number, the practice of reversing a number can also help find aliases connected to different SSNs, shedding light on questionable borrowers before their fraudulent intentions succeed and impact an organization’s bottom line.

An Address Is More Than a Place to Send Mail

In the game of fraud, understanding relationships is key. Investigators may not realize the wealth of information an address can provide. By researching people, associates or relatives of their subject, investigators can see not only who lives with the subject now, but also who used to. Addresses help uncover connection points not just between first-degree family members—but also between the search subject and relatives, associates, companies and more.

In a due diligence investigation, up-to-date, actionable address data can help uncover unknown relationships between an employee or employees of a potential acquisition target and known criminal associates, helping detect or prevent fraud. This is particularly useful information when merging operations or determining an accurate valuation for a company. That information alone could save an organization from significant losses and compromised operations and reputation.

There’s no end to the wealth of information that can come from a single data point–whether it be a phone number, address, license plate number or other nugget of data.

Actionable and timely data can help you:

  • Verify identity
  • Mitigate and detect fraud, both internally and externally
  • Link relationships with possible relatives and associates
  • Conduct enhanced due diligence
  • Investigate potential conflicts of interest
  • Identify relationships between customers, people and businesses
  • Define specific patterns of travel
  • Identify predictive behaviors, hobbies or personal preferences
  • Identify aliases and individuals trying to avoid a conviction, misrepresent the truth or commit fraud.

Investigators who are able to leverage a single piece of the right information to verify identity, uncover personal relationships and establish telltale patterns of behavior enjoy a tremendous advantage in successfully detecting and preventing fraud.

TransUnion’s TLOxp

TransUnion’s TLOxp® solution supports the protection of your bottom line by providing actionable data on people and businesses to help you make better decisions, faster. TLOxp® skip tracing software is the fastest and most efficient way to uncover, locate and verify information on individuals and businesses. Used by insurance companies, investigators, law enforcement, process servers, bail agents and more, TLOxp can help pinpoint subject locations, verify identities, map relationships and uncover actionable intelligence in any type of case investigations from missing persons to fraud. With advanced tools and proprietary linking technology, TLOxp filters through billions of public and proprietary records to help you complete weeks or even months of legwork in seconds. Learn more about TLOxp or register for a free demo.

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