Great (Un)Expectations: The Lurking Threat of Account Maintenance Fraud


It is human nature to be suspicious of obvious dangers; a dimly lit alleyway, a stranger following too closely, an unexplained sound in an empty house. These scenarios play on our anxieties of both the known and unknown dangers of the world. We come to expect a certain level of dread around these so-called ‘poltergeists’ almost as if there is some collective conscience that dictates what is or is not frightening. Humans are comfortable in the familiar, the routine, but in that feeling of security, when our guard is down, the most unfathomable dangers can lurk. As risk managers we are obsequious hunters for the outlier, the strange or unnatural circumstances. However, many threats remain hidden in what appears to be the routine occurrences of a customer’s address change, updated payment information or other account maintenance. Fraudsters take advantage any time there is a false sense of security. Account maintenance fraud is born of just that false sense.

What is Account Maintenance Fraud?

During the life of a customer’s account, legitimate maintenance is done to ensure accounts have up-to-date addresses and other information. A customer may move and need to update a mailing address, or change banks and need to update financial or billing information. All of these routine changes to an account leave your business vulnerable to account maintenance fraud. This type of fraud is a powerful threat because, unlike high scrutiny times in an account cycle like account opening, it occurs when an account has been reliably established. The fraudster gains access to an account via a compromised email address and can make what can appear to be routine account changes into a full-blown account takeover.

Impacts of Account Maintenance Fraud

Once the account maintenance has been exploited and a takeover has occurred, the fraudster now has unfettered access to the account and the real account holder is left on the sidelines, completely unable to access the impacted account. This is not only costly but also damaging to the relationship your business has with your customer. Your customer service team now has to pick up the pieces while your risk management team deals with the financial burden and resource drain as you unpack how the fraud occurred.

Identifying and Deterring Account Maintenance Fraud

Effective account maintenance fraud prevention requires a 360-degree risk management strategy that continuously monitors threats at every point in an account’s lifecycle. It is easy to neglect ongoing fraud monitoring of established accounts as you want to maximum return on your risk management resource and investment. Emailage offers this wholistic protection through its network reporting technologies and ever-evolving machine learning.

Dynamic data from a customer’s email address, rather than static data such as an SSN or physical address, can better identify your customers and help provide the basis of your risk management strategy. This is especially true for account maintenance fraud as it exploits data points to gain access to the account. Proactively detecting and preventing account maintenance fraud requires a strategic risk management plan rooted in dynamic, reportable data. Emailage’s risk assessment technology can be implemented seamlessly in any vertical.

Emailage Email Risk Score

The Email Risk Score combines the power of the dynamic data associated with a customer’s email address and ‘always on’ machine learning to provide enhanced transparency and confidence that the account’s identity remains uncompromised. If a fraudster attempts to update the email address on file, Emaialge’s technology can connect the dots based on dynamic data linked to this email address to weed out the potential for fraud. This technology increases authorization speed while decreasing customer friction and works to minimize risks during account maintenance.

Emailage Portal 3

Emailage’s Portal 3 technology provides a dashboard view of all your risk management strategies. Your company’s risk management team can more accurately monitor potential account maintenance fraud risks with the ability to run the previous seven days’ queries from every channel. The data analyzed from many channels in one place improves reporting accuracy while also saving your team time and money.

Expect the Unexpected

The diligence required to consistently monitor accounts for potential fraud threats is daunting. The path of least resistance leads many companies to over prioritize the risk management of new accounts while lapsing on the more mundane. Keep your guard up with reinforced risk management strategies that encompass your customers’ entire lifecycle and you’ll be able to expect the unexpected to stay in front of account maintenance fraud.

Learn how the power of Emailage’s network intelligence can help your company outsmart account maintenance fraud.

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