Ekata, a company that provides identity verification APIs that assist in risk assessment practices, has announced a new API that is designed to combat synthetic identity fraud. The new Ekata Account Opening API helps developers weed out bad actors from authentic customers during the onboarding process.
Synthetic identity fraud, the process of combining legitimate identity information (often stolen) with random supplemental data, is a problem that is proving extremely costly to financial institutions. By some accounts, synthetic identity fraud accounts for up to 5% of charged-off accounts. The sum of this fraud is in the billions of dollars.
The announcement of the new Ekata product explained it this way:
“Using a combination of valid qualifying information combined with fake secondary information, perpetrators cultivate these identities to defraud banks, causing charge-offs and losses for financial institutions. These attacks must be proactively addressed when bringing customers on board.”
The Account Opening API attacks this problem by analyzing a potential customer on several levels, calculating scores for identity risk, identity network risk, and network signals. The identity risk score examines name, phone, email, address, IP. The network risk score looks deeper and inspects data that Ekata has harvested from its network about usage patterns via real-world queries. Beyond this, the network signals examination looks at the location (via IP last seen), the phone number, the email address, and the relationship between these last two items.
It is important to note that for the API to function not all of these fields are required, with the announcement noting a requirement for two out of three items (email, phone number, or IP).