The 4 steps of identity theft fueling massive COVID unemployment fraud
CARY, N.C., Nov. 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The COVID-19 pandemic's economic fallout has threatened the livelihoods of millions of Americans. However, it has been a windfall for criminals who take advantage of those who need help the most.
The pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for identity thieves and fraudsters. - Carl Hammersburg, SAS
Coming off historically low unemployment rates, unemployment insurance (UI) agencies found themselves understaffed and ill-prepared for the claims tsunami caused by the pandemic. Additionally, the CARES Act loosened controls in order to quickly get money out the door. While this was important for urgently getting assistance to those in need, it exposed agencies to fraud perpetrated by organized criminal networks at a scale never seen before, overwhelming fraud prevention efforts.
How identity theft is fueling unemployment fraud
One of the most common tactics of fraudsters is the use of stolen identity credentials such as names, Social Security numbers and addresses to file claims and open accounts on another person's behalf, then redirect funds to themselves. In many cases, identity thieves sit on vast amounts of stolen credentials, waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce. COVID-19 has been an opportunity like no other. But for many of the fraudulent claims, the identity theft-to-fraud process began much earlier.
Here are the four steps of identity theft and fraud:
Analytics and the fight against unemployment fraud
Fraud at this scale and volume requires technology that can sift through and analyze massive amounts of data to identify claims that can be quickly approved, and those that are at higher risk of being fraudulent. With the possibility of another stimulus package looming, sophisticated fraudsters and criminal rings are salivating at the opportunity, armed with millions of bits of stolen personal information.
We must counter their sophistication with our own by applying advanced analytics to millions of claims to identify anomalies and patterns, and flag suspected fraud.
Learn more about SAS for unemployment fraud detection: sas.com/en_us/industry/government/sas-for/social-services/unemployment-fraud.html.
International Fraud Awareness Week is Nov. 15-21. Visit FraudWeek.com to join the effort and to learn more about how to protect your organization. Follow #fraudweek on Twitter to join the conversation.
SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2020 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.
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