Category Archives: Banking

Protect Yourself Against Social Security Identity Theft

Retirement The PBS website for grown-ups who want to keep growing

By Amy Zipkin, Freelance Writer and Journalist, Next Avenue Contributor and Contributor to Forbes
Jan 17, 2018, 01:11pm

Last fall, after the Equifax breach, Jim Borland, acting deputy commissioner for communications at the Social Security Administration wrote a blog post on the agency website headlined “Protecting Your Social Security.”  He said: “A my Social Security account is your gateway to many of our online services. Create your account today and take away the risk of someone else trying to create one in your name, even if they obtain your Social Security number.”

I took Borland’s advice, since anyone 18 or older with a Social Security number, an email address and a mailing address can open a mySocialSecurity online account and maintain it for decades before claiming benefits. But fewer than nine months after I opened the my Social Security account, I received an unexpected email from the Social Security Administration. It said: My account was being deactivated at my request.

Why Was My Social Security Account Deactivated?

I was mystified since I hadn’t contacted the agency. And no one else had access to personal details to change my password. So I called the next morning and requested a direct deposit block on my Social Security account to prevent any additional suspicious activity. (Even though I don’t collect Social Security benefits yet, a block offers two apparent safeguards: It prevents changes to direct deposit information through a financial institution or through the Social Security site. And it prevents someone else from changing my mailing address through the Social Security site.)

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I also asked the Social Security Administration to notify its Inspector General about suspected fraud.

Then I tried to find out what happened.

The U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) website offered a possible clue. “With full name, birth date and Social Security number a thief can try to open a  my Social Security account in your name and change your direct deposit information to his or her checking account.”

It continued, “Coupled with other information that can easily be found online such as place of birth, a thief can try to claim your benefits over the phone.”

The Rising Trend in Compromised Social Security Accounts

My compromised account, it turns out, was not alone.

In its 2018 Identity Fraud Report, the Javelin Strategy and Research firm found nearly a third (30%) of U.S. consumers were notified of a breach in 2017, up from 12% in 2016, to the tune of $16.8 billion dollars. And for the first time, Social Security numbers were compromised more than credit card numbers in breaches. What this means, according to Javelin, is that 35% of individuals who were notified that their personal information was involved in a breach in 2017 had their Social Security numbers compromised.

One reason Social Security number theft is up: scammers seem to have shifted tactics. “Over the past couple of months, our helpline has received fewer reports of the IRS scam [a con artist pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service, demanding money] while complaints about scammers impersonating the Social Security Administration have been on the increase,” said Amy Nofziger, an AARP expert on frauds and scams.

“I am aware advisories have been put out for consumers to beware of impersonation schemes,” said Mike Litt, Consumer Campaign Director at U.S. PIRG based in Washington, D.C.

How to Safeguard Your Future Social Security Benefits

How do you safeguard your Social Security benefits if you are months or even years away from collecting them?

Perhaps its counterintuitive, but experts recommend signing up for a my Social Security account and closely monitoring it.

The way to do that, says Mike Litt, consumer campaign director at U.S. PIRG, is by logging into your Social Security account regularly and checking your personal information, such as your address or date of birth. If you see changes to the information you entered when you opened the account or information that doesn’t belong to you, contact the Social Security Administration (800-772- 1213 or by email: https://secure.ssa.gov/emailus).

“It may mean someone has tried to claim your benefits, perhaps by telephone,” Litt said.

To report possible fraud or identity theft, Nofziger suggests casting a wide net. “The more reporting entries the better,” she said. Besides the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Trade Commission and the Senate Select Committee on Aging fraud hotline 800-303- 9470 are options. (Note: The Federal Trade Commission is currently closed due to the lapse of government funding.)

If You Have a Password Problem

The Social Security Administration says that if you have password problems with your my Social Security account, call Social Security and answer “helpdesk” when the auto prompt asks the nature of your call.

The Social Security Administration uses Equifax credit reports for personal identification verification. “If a person has a security freeze, fraud alert or both with Equifax, a my Social Security account could not be created,” the agency said in an email.

While reporting this story I checked back with the Office of the Inspector General to find out why my account was closed without my authorization. “Due to privacy and law enforcement concerns, we cannot comment on any investigative action we take on the allegation going forward,” communications director Andrew Cannarsa wrote in an email.

After checking my credit report and making sure it was accurate, I then opened another my Social Security account. The block is still in place and Social Security sent me a confirmation. But if I call to request direct deposit or mailing address agencies, the agency said, I may be asked to visit my local Social Security office to confirm my identity.

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LendingQB® and Mortgage iQ® CRM integrate Loan Origination with Customer Relationship Management to create an End-to-End Mortgage Banking System

Mortgage iQ CRM seamlessly integrates with LendingQB allowing mortgage companies to provide Retail and Wholesale Lenders with an integrated Sales, Marketing, Workflow and Loan Origination platform.

 

Costa Mesa, CAMortgage iQ CRM, the leader in Enterprise CRM for Lenders today announced an enhanced integration between Mortgage iQ CRM and LendingQB’s LOS. The combined technologies represent a significant time savings and data integrity benefit for retail and wholesale mortgage lenders.

Mortgage iQ is an Enterprise CRM system built specifically for the mortgage industry. Mortgage iQ streamlines lead management, provides strong sales force and marketing automation including lead tracking/qualification, credit analysis, loan scenarios plus personalized websites and landing pages with an integrated Loan Application and Tracking Portal for Borrowers and Real Estate Partners or Brokers. It then completes the workflow with loan pipeline tracking, automated marketing tracks as well as integration with backend lending systems such as LendingQB alleviating redundant data entry.

Lenders utilizing Mortgage iQ through LendingQB can expect a robust and rapid transmission of key data at targeted intervals that maximizes efficiency in the mortgage marketing, sales and origination process.

“Both CRM’s and LOS’s are large and complex platforms,” said David Colwell, vice president of LendingQB strategy. “Ensuring a smooth and effective integration between the two is typically a massive undertaking that takes more resources than most lenders have. By utilizing LendingQB’s OpenAPI, Mortgage iQ was able to build a robust integration with our LOS that is effective and easy to manage, enabling our lenders to leverage the powerful features of our respective platforms in less time and at a lower cost.”

Unlike many other mortgage-focused CRM products, Mortgage IQ has specific support for retail and wholesale lending, an important distinction that is unique in the CRM industry. According to Chris King, CEO of Mortgage iQ CRM, “Retail lenders operate in a completely different manner from wholesale lenders, especially from a sales and marketing perspective. We know that many lenders, especially LendingQB clients, support multiple channels. Our ability to satisfy their entire organization with channel-specific features is crucial and one of the reasons we chose to partner with LendingQB.”

About Mortgage iQ CRM

CRMnow is a leading provider of Enterprise Level CRM applications software for Wholesale, Retail and Consumer Direct mortgage companies and is hosted in a Private Cloud environment. Mortgage iQ enables our customers to sell, market and service customers across all business roles and processes. We have over 25 years combined experience in providing CRM technology and Best Practice within the Lending Industry.
Note to Editors: CRMnow and Mortgage iQ are registered trademarks of King Technology Group, LLC. All other product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners and are mentioned for identification purposes only. For more information about Mortgage iQ, please visit www.mortgageiqcrm.com

About LendingQB

LendingQB is a provider of an innovative web-based loan origination system (LOS) and continues to extend market-leading integrations that provide lenders a flexible, innovative workflow. The LOS’ open-architecture application program interface (API) enables lenders to select the tools that best help their efficiency. The LOS was cited in the STRATMOR Group’s December 2016 Technology Insights report as achieving an end user effectiveness rating of 93%, top marks amongst the major LOS providers. For more info, visit lendingqb.com..

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Media Contacts

Wilson Hartsock
LendingQB
Phone: 714-957-6334 x 2193
Email: wilsonh@lendingqb.com

Karyn King
CRMnow
Phone: 949-281-6107
Email: Kking@crmnow.com

How technology is tackling human trafficking

18/07/2018
By Alexon Bell, Global Head of AML and Compliance at Quantexa
Contributor to Global Banking & Finance Review

 

Technology is both a blessing and a curse for officials fighting against human trafficking.

With the rise of social media and a world growing smaller through communication platforms, alongside the accessibility of online advertisements and encrypted messaging apps, traffickers have a host of technologies at their fingertips to help entrap victims, advertise their services and cover up the trafficker’s own illegal activity.

However, new technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are playing a key role in eliminating human trafficking. Some are used to discover and rescue victims, others to identify networks of perpetrators. Many of these advancements are beginning to empower governments to source the root of trafficking rings and stop the activity at its core. In turn, this puts a new and heavier responsibility onto banks and corporates to innovate and improve their systems to themselves spot any nefarious activity and feed this back into the global effort against trafficking.

Spotting victims

At the heart of each case of human trafficking is a victim, but knowing the identity of this victim is difficult. Hundreds of images of abused children are shared online every day – even if all of these are flagged, many will be duplicates of cases that have already been actioned. Understanding whether an image is a duplicate or a new photo – which would require a new response from law enforcement – is difficult as such images are hard to track.

Previously, traffickers wanting to proliferate an image could make small tweaks to it, such as adding marks or a resizing the photo. This creates a distinct image, making it impossible to trace back altered duplicates using traditional methods.

Now, technologies are being used to outsmart traffickers and distinguish new and existing images faster. For example, Microsoft PhotoDNA imposes a fine grid over an image and assigns a numerical value to each square, representing the “hash” – like a DNA signature for the image. Rather than scanning for whole images, the program matches a numerical hash against a database of known illegal images to match duplicate images instantly.

To help law enforcement turn this innovation into positive action, Thorn – a tech start-up founded by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to fight child sexual abuse and trafficking – has partnered with Microsoft to allow organisations to add to and access a centralised hash sharing database. New images that have not been hashed are reported as belonging to a new victim – meaning law enforcement is alerted to a new victim sooner. This accelerates victim discovery and therefore, hopefully, rescue.

Preventing victim entrapment

Many perpetrators of modern day slavery use contract substitution to entrap their victims. Recruiters offer a lucrative contract to lure individuals abroad, but this is then reworded – often in a language the victim does not understand. Innovators are hoping that blockchain technology may soon help prevent this deception, if governments were to only issue visas when signed contracts are confirmed by the blockchain as matching those originally provided to the individual.

Finding traffickers

Traffickers can use technology to obscure their activity, but technology is also revolutionising the way officials are finding criminal networks. The key is joining the dots of information from NGOs, news sources, databases of known traffickers and details available to institutions such as banks.

Traditional human intelligence is gathered on the ground in a particular country by charities, looking at news sources, hearsay and other resources at their disposal. With many charities operating within one country alone, and much trafficking happening between countries, this information often then needs to be shared with governmental and intra-governmental organisations to compile a profile of a trafficker or activity more broadly. This traditional intelligence, however, is usually not enough to rapidly identify a network of traffickers.

Now, institutions like banks are helping combine this human intelligence with innovative technologies which joins the dots of information from these organisations with the bank’s own internal data and other third party sources. Using big data, artificial intelligence software is able to find links between individuals and their transactions, addresses, associates and company ties, alongside a mass of other relevant information which may suggest nefarious activity when seen in its proper context. By resolving these separate entities, AI tech can build a detailed picture of a criminal’s network, putting an individual transaction or relationship in its wider context. Using a combination of human intelligence and digitally compiled insight, organisations can identify traffickers and their connections.

While some technologies are accelerating trafficking, others are vital in tackling against this devastating crime. The combination of human intelligence, artificial intelligence and the sharing of information is starting to pay dividends.

Whether helping to identify victims, preventing them being ensnared or detecting traffickers themselves, innovative technology is helping at every stage of the fight against trafficking, enhancing processes to make every effort more efficient, effective and accurate – and, ultimately, life-saving.

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Side note to this article/report by Alexon Bell: I will be following up on the human trafficking issue in the near future with a Commentary. It will include key links to Fact Sheets, Quantexa’s specific involvement, including other organizations on the front lines. You may consider becoming involved (directly, donations to key organizations, etc.), and those sources will be added as well.

Bill Owen – TechNewsBlog.net