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Spotting Imposters: Are your customers who they say they are?

January 21, 2021

Identity theft is at an all-time high, and in today’s tech-obsessed world, bad actors have more opportunities than ever to steal someone’s identity. In 2019 alone, fraud losses grew 15% to $16.9 billion, according to Javelin Research.

As the most used personal identifier for consumer account management, the mobile phone number is increasingly becoming an important factor to help organizations mitigate fraud and assess risk. This is especially true when initiating financial transactions where businesses are increasingly relying on mobile devices for second-factor authentication access. This can help stop fraudulent accounts being opened, legitimate accounts being taken over and further helps protect businesses and consumers from becoming the victim of significant financial loss.

Assessing Risk with Number Porting Data

Number porting data is another tool being utilized to authenticate the identity of consumers. With 833,000 porting and pooling transactions each day in the U.S. alone, this data plays a key role in helping verify the authenticity of telephone number-based transactions and enables organizations to assess risk more efficiently. Depending on the industry, measuring risk can be done in different ways, but a common thread is the use of number porting information to help flag questionable transactions quickly.

Access to number porting data provides information to an organization that immediately highlights changes to a phone number, such as when a phone number has been “stolen”, giving its risk assessment and fraud team additional information to define a risk score, halt a transaction or hold off releasing information until further confirmation can be obtained.  Without this information, a ported number can create a blind spot—making it difficult to provide organizations with 100% confidence in an identity behind a phone number.

Resources for Fraud Mitigation

In the United States, PortData Validate is the only authorized resource for accurate and up-to-date phone number porting data for fraud mitigation and risk assessment. By subscribing to this service through iconectiv, or through an authorized Reseller, these organizations can ensure they have the best possible and complete information for staying aware of recent porting activity. This information assists in determining whether a phone number has recently been ported or whether the SIM has changed.

Kathy Timko, iconectiv’s head of the Local Number Portability Administration, recently joined Paul Benda from the American Bankers Association (ABA) on the organization’s Banking Journal Podcast to discuss how number porting data can help combat the rising trend of account takeovers in the financial industry due to mobile identity fraud. To listen to the interview, click here.