Last week we came across another fraud activity that I thought I would share. I was speaking at a conference last week and there was some discussion about one of the latest threats related to altering of a person’s credit report. Not exactly new, but renewed.
The scam is as follows. The credit bureaus, by law, have to remove delinquent information from a consumer’s credit report within 4 days of receipt of a valid affidavit of identity theft from law enforcement. Once the bureau has the form and the accounts that should be ‘sanitized’, they then have 4 days to remove.
Makes sense if, indeed, there was identity theft present. However, this is not always the case. The bureaus are finding that many of these affidavits are counterfeit or fictitious. In fact, they went on to describe that they are getting hit particularly hard in the Southern California area and that many suspected reports tend to all have Armenian surnames.
They then went on to describe how there are a bunch of credit repair companies charging hundreds and thousands of dollars to clear a consumer credit report. This is how they are clearing.
Flash forward 24 hours. As I boarded my plane back to Minnesota – I brought up a data study for a prospect – hoping to see if we could help them identify a particular fraud ring they were seeing. At first – the frauds that we analyzed did not seem to out of the ordinary. However, at second glance, we realized that they were all Armenina surnames out of….. you guessed it – Souther California.
This one is pretty scary. Scary – because they all tended to be verified, have good credit, no real fraud characteristics, etc…. Once that credit report has been ‘sanitized’, they are free to resume roaming and take everyone to the cleaners.
I am sure that once they steal their next batch of money, they just return to their ‘buddy’, re-sanitize and do it again.
Are our credit granting systems under attack? Is this a pre-cursor of things to come?