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Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-2-29

Friday, February 29th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide Software] Stories From the Street

“When I arrived at the shop I saw that it was a large indoor warehouse with the main door open and no one out front. As I walked by the open door I noticed scores of vehicles being stored inside, all damaged - some totaled. It was odd to see these vehicles kept indoors, so odd that I began to suspect that perhaps some of the less damaged ones were unrecovered stolen vehicles so I began jotting down VINs as quickly as I could before someone spotted me. I got about five of them, one from a white Corvette that was demolished and sitting on the frame.”

fibre2fashion.com: USA : NRF initiates new steps to battle retail crime

NRF’s Loss Prevention Council has begun a series of NRF-Investigator’s Network Meetings designed to connect loss prevention executives with their local law enforcement agencies to discuss issues currently plaguing the retail industry and ways to combat the growing problem of organized retail crime.”

Evolution of Security: Welcome to the Delete-O-Meter

“In the spirit of transparency, we proudly introduce the (drum roll please…) Delete-O-Meter. This new, permanent feature of the Evolution of Security blog will update on a weekly basis the number of posts we have deleted during moderation. It will be housed on the bottom, right corner right below the RSS feed.”

ABC News: High-End Panty Raids Hit Stores

“Panty raids aren’t just for horny college kids anymore. Industry groups and law enforcement officials say both amateur thieves and organized crime rings are to blame for thefts of loads of lingerie from high-end clothiers like Victoria’s Secret in recent years. And some reports suggest that lingerie heists are on the rise. . . . ‘It’s an easily concealable item and a very high resale value,’ says Casey Chroust, senior vice president of retail operations at the Retail Industry Leaders Association. . . . ‘Organized retail crime has been a big problem,’ says an executive at a lingerie company who asked to remain anonymous. ‘It’s a low-risk, high-reward activity, and it often flies under the radar screen.’”

ABC News: 9/11 Redux: ‘Thousands of Aliens’ in U.S. Flight Schools Illegally

“Under the new laws, American flight schools are only supposed to provide pilot training to foreign students who have been given a background check by the TSA and have a specific type of visa.” [TSA’s response]

Stories From the Street

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

By Dennis Parker, Director of Fraud Prevention, Innovation Group

[Dennis Parker has over seven years experience managing an insurance fraud unit in the South Central United States and seven years experience working for software companies developing strategic solutions for insurance fraud. Formerly he spent 18 years as a law enforcement officer in a variety of jurisdictions including Houston Texas and the US Air Force as an AFOSI agent.]

So there I was… as an insurance fraud manager I found myself out of the office on behalf of an adjuster to check the damages reported by one of our “insureds” who had t-boned a Jaguar. Our insured vehicle was a black Honda Accord and it was at a storage lot.

When I arrived at the shop I saw that it was a large indoor warehouse with the main door open and no one out front. As I walked by the open door I noticed scores of vehicles being stored inside, all damaged - some totaled. It was odd to see these vehicles kept indoors, so odd that I began to suspect that perhaps some of the less damaged ones were unrecovered stolen vehicles so I began jotting down VINs as quickly as I could before someone spotted me. I got about five of them, one from a white Corvette that was demolished and sitting on the frame.

I went inside the office and finally found someone who showed me the totaled Honda Accord. Sure enough the damage was severe and appeared to come from a direct front impact. Oddly, there was no damage indicating the car it struck was in motion, all damage appeared to go straight towards the rear of the Accord. No big deal, I took some photos and departed. Once back at the office I checked all of the VINs and none were listed as stolen, so I chalked that one up to an over-active suspicious nature.

I found out that the adjuster had met with the owner of the Jaguar and settled the claim. The adjuster told me later that the owner had met him at the body shop in a very angry mood. He admonished the adjuster about being fair and said if he was treated fairly about settling the claim for the totaled Jaguar then he wouldn’t be inclined to file injury claims for himself and his three minor children who he said were in the car. The Jaguar had been hit in the driver’s side so hard it was bowed like a banana - a hard enough hit to match the Accord severity for sure.

The adjuster was happy to settle the claim for the Jaguar at the top of the Blue Book estimate knowing that he could close four injury claims at the same time. He paid the owner of the Jaguar close to $20,000 and went back to the office a hero.

My curiosity was still up though. I was able to do some checking on the title history of the Jaguar and discovered that the person just paid by the adjuster was not the titled owner of the Jaguar - it was titled to a leasing agency in Florida. A few phone calls and I discovered the vehicle had been purchased four days before this claimed accident occurred and it had massive damage to the driver’s side when purchased.

A further check of the history of the Jaguar owner revealed several other accidents. One which occurred a year ago had some familiar looking pieces of data: The opposing party in that accident lived in the same apartment as the one occupied by the person we insured this time.

I met with the owner of the Jaguar and explained to him what I had discovered. In exchange for not going to jail he agreed to pay our $20k back. Our insured could not be located and since there was no collision coverage on his policy, he got no money.

Three months later I was asked to take a look at a stolen vehicle claim. The owner’s name seemed familiar, as did the description of the vehicle. After a few minutes I remembered; the owner’s name was one I had seen when I checked the VINs from the indoor storage lot. The “stolen vehicle” was a white Corvette — same VIN.

I contacted the local police department’s auto theft task force and informed them. They raided the shop a few days later and found seven stolen vehicles (or parts) and arrested eight people.

Automated scoring of claims and comparison of the entities and identities within the associated data to determine who’s who and who knows whom (AKA identity or entity resolution) is a critical component to detecting insurance claims fraud. These events were found by pure luck and an over-active suspicious nature. I’m certain that it was only one in a thousand that had gone through unnoticed

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-2-25

Monday, February 25th, 2008

The Bunker Blog: Employee Theft And Shoplifting Not Exclusive To Poor Folks

“I passed on a commentary about actress Bai Ling. I just felt that there were plenty of stories and opinions out there on this story. Then I found this story about a former bank vice president who embezzled over $500k from 2 banks of which he was an officer over a period of 5 years.”

nwi.com: Cops: Arsonists plotted insurance fraud

“Police sought arson charges from the Lake County prosecutors against two men they say destroyed a home Friday as part of a botched insurance fraud scheme.”

b-eye.com - Business Intelligence Network - Blog: John Myers: TDWI Las Vegas - Mapping BPM and BI

“At the TDWI Las Vegas show this week, one of the featured topics is ‘business analytics’”.

baltimoresun.com: MTA officer pleads guilty to insurance fraud

“A police officer for the Maryland Transit Administration pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to mail fraud in a scheme to burn three vehicles owned by transit employees for the insurance money, the U.S. attorney’s office for Maryland said.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-2-22

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

[Post from Infoglide Software] The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Online Auctions

“ONLINE AUCTIONS ARE FABULOUS! . . . The consumer generally gets what they buy, and the rating system utilized by the major net sellers provides a fairly reasonable community policing policy, and so what is the big deal? . . . The issue is that the unintended consequence of the anonymous seller is that the ‘chain of custody’ of the goods is unknown. Why does that matter? Well, in the most dire circumstances a seller could be selling toys with lead paint or recalled merchandise that is unsafe. But even if no one is physically hurt, there are still vast amounts of products that are acquired by theft and fraud and then resold on these wonderful auction sites.”

Evolution of Security: And Now, a Word from Our Lawyers…

“In regard to comments questioning the constitutionality of TSA’s airport security screening procedures, the courts have addressed the issue and disagree with the notion that our procedures are unconstitutional.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: What not to buy on eBay

“The National Retail Federation, a trade group based in Washington D.C., has put out a warning to consumers urging caution in buying household items on Internet auction sites. The warning follows a high-profile bust of an organized crime ring in Florida that is believed to have stolen more than $100 million in health and beauty items over the past five years. Organizers of the crime rings often sell the stolen goods online.”

USATODAY: Most states give green light to tamper-proof IDs

“Forty-four states are moving ahead to comply with a law requiring more secure driver’s licenses, according to the Department of Homeland Security — despite privacy concerns and worry that the new documents will be too expensive. . . . Tim Sparapani of the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposes Real ID and warns that the government won’t be able to adequately protect databases of citizens’ personal information, says some states applied for the extension ‘to run out the clock on the Bush administration.’”

Jeff Jonas: Algorithms At Dead-End: Can’t Squeeze Knowledge Out Of A Pixel

“Have you ever heard the expression ‘climbing trees to get to the moon’? Roughly translated this means that while one can show progress inching along (up a tree in this case) … if one stands back to look at the big picture … no matter how successful one is on this path … in is quite obvious they are not going to get to the moon … ever. I have news … for those waiting for big breakthroughs in algorithms to better make sense of transactional data (e.g., to lower false positives/negatives) they are going to be waiting a long time, actually worse, forever.”

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Online Auctions

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

By Mike Shultz, Infoglide Software CEO

[Note: This is a response to a recent comment that was posted by Steve DelBianco of NetChoice about Mike’s post “When Technology Turns Tradition on its Head.”

ONLINE AUCTIONS ARE FABULOUS! There, I said it, and I mean it. From most any spot on the face of the earth someone with an Internet connection can browse, read, review, consider, and with the exception of touch and smell, decide to buy almost anything from a Mini-Cooper (family friend purchased online from New York and delivered in Texas) to replacement flippers for a pin ball machine (one of our employees). Houses, furniture, electronics, clothes, baby food, and on and on. It is the most amazing bazaar ever. ONLINE AUCTIONS ARE FABULOUS!

So what is the big deal, then? The consumer generally gets what they buy, and the rating system utilized by the major net sellers provides a fairly reasonable community policing policy, and so what is the big deal?

The issue is that the seller enjoys complete anonymity. As long as the net seller delivers the goods as promised, reviews are positive and everybody is happy. So where is the harm? Or as Mr. DelBianco writes, “Online marketplaces have operated successfully with this so-called anonymity factor, to the satisfaction of millions of buyers!”

The issue is that the unintended consequence of the anonymous seller is that the “chain of custody” of the goods is unknown. Why does that matter? Well, in the most dire circumstances a seller could be selling toys with lead paint or recalled merchandise that is unsafe. But even if no one is physically hurt, there are still vast amounts of products that are acquired by theft and fraud and then resold on these wonderful auction sites.

Still, who cares? Who is harmed? Why not get a good deal on something, even if it is stolen property? The short answer is that you care. You are harmed every time an auction site facilitates the sale and purchase of stolen merchandise.

The fact is that your mother taught you when you were a youngster that any action that is wrong, is wrong. She told you that when you put the gum in your pocket when you walked out of the store. She told you that when you got caught cheating in school. Well, maybe you never shoplifted the gum or cheated in school, but you still knew it was wrong. It was wrong then, and it is still wrong. The stolen property was taken from its rightful owner, and the rightful owner suffered a loss. That is wrong. The rightful owner likely puts those losses into the price of the other things they sell, and then it gets passed along to you in the price of things you buy at the store. It is just wrong. Period. Wrong to steal, wrong to cheat, and wrong to take advantage of everyone else in the chain.

How big a deal is it, really? It turns out to be a few billion dollars a year. That’s billion with a B. That is money that likely goes into the hands of organized crime, like the Mafia (you remember those guys), or to rings of professional thieves or, worst case scenario, into the hands of groups that support terrorism.

Billions of dollars come out of our collective pockets and into the pockets of people who steal merchandise. It kind of makes that really good deal stink, doesn’t it?

The issue is anonymous sellers. Why don’t they want you to know who they are? If they are legitimate, why not operate out in the open? Why do we let them make these FABULOUS sites havens for criminals? Fact is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Simple, effective, and inexpensive technology can solve this problem and fast. Why not do it? Why not protect each other from the bad guys? Why not?

Identity Resolution Daily 2008-2-18

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Due to President’s Day, we will not be publishing our standard link post today. Please check back with us on Wednesday, February 20th.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-2-15

Friday, February 15th, 2008

[Post from Infoglide Software] Mistaken Identity Resolution Part II: Identity Resolution vs. Master Data Management (MDM)

“In a recent post, we talked about how the relatively new technology of identity resolution is often confused with other areas. One of those, master data management (MDM), is receiving lots of press attention these days. So how specifically does identity resolution (which Gartner terms “entity resolution and analysis”) differ from MDM?”

The Denver Post: Bill regulating “e-fencing” killed

“A bill to regulate Internet auction sales of items commonly stolen and resold — known as ‘e-fencing‘ — was effectively killed Wednesday when a legislative committee voted to table it.”

WSAZ.com: Insurance Fraud and More in Court

“A man was in court Thursday charged with scamming his insurance company, but this case of fraud turned into much more and it left police wondering what he was thinking.”

ZDNet: Surveillance society needs privacy safeguards

“Writing in the Washington Post, Frank Baitman, of the British-based Petards Group, which develops advanced surveillance systems, says that the time has come for some federal legislation on how surveillance images are captured, stored and shared.”

Homeland Security Watch: Where the Candidates Stand on HLS

“That’s how we’ll start a mini-series here on HLSWatch to take a look at how the candidates of both parties stack up on homeland security.”

Mistaken Identity Resolution Part II: Identity Resolution vs. Master Data Management (MDM)

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

By Bob Barker, Infoglide Software Senior Vice President & CMO

In a recent post, we talked about how the relatively new technology of identity resolution is often confused with other areas. One of those, master data management (MDM), is receiving lots of press attention these days. So how specifically does identity resolution (which Gartner terms “entity resolution and analysis”) differ from MDM?

Rather than being a specific technology or set of technologies, MDM is an overarching discipline that has a clear goal: achieve consistency of computing across varying IT systems by sharing master reference data. MDM seeks to manage data through various means to achieve this desired consistency.

MDM is a very broad term spanning multiple data domains, use cases, and industries. Gartner correctly points out that only two data domains have yet emerged to become viable - “customer” and “product” - and their emergence has been driven by the consistency requirements of specific industries, i.e. “customer” is driven primarily by financial services and healthcare and “product” is driven by manufacturing. Thus MDM currently has two identifiable submarkets called “customer data integration” (CDI) and “product information management” (PIM), each being served by multiple software vendors who help create more consistent customer and product data.

Identity Resolution vs. Master Data Management (MDM)

So how does identity resolution differ from MDM?

  • Rather than demanding data consistency, identity resolution technologies derive significant value from the inconsistency of data drawn from multiple sources.
  • Identity resolution solutions like Identity Resolution Engine (IRE) resolve multiple identities into one and frustrate those who purposely alter their identity in order to fool existing computer systems.

Literally billions of dollars lost each year due to fraud could be saved by implementing identity resolution applications to support retail, financial services, and other industries.
Is there an implicit antagonism between MDM and identity resolution? The answer, of course, is definitely not. Each is applied to solve a specific problem and at a different point to achieve a positive result.

MDM identifies and manages master reference sets of data to increase consistency and thus productivity within transaction systems. Identity resolution finds fraudsters and highlights their hidden relationships in real time by analyzing data systems that capture and hold identity data, cross referencing them with watchlists and other data sources. (MDM output can even serve as a data source for identity resolution!).

So what do they have in common? Both MDM and identity resolution are important contributors to a stronger bottom line.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-2-11

Monday, February 11th, 2008

The Bunker Blog: When You’re Wanted For A Multi-Million Dollar Insurance Fraud Scheme, Don’t Go Shoplifting!

“Here is a news story from Muncie, IN, where a woman wanted for two felonies that involved burning down houses in order to collect on the insurance was caught shoplifting at Walmart.”

The Register: EU squeals over US pre-flight personal data grab

“EU officials are crying foul over Department of Homeland Security attempts to impose draconian and invasive data requirements on passengers travelling to the US. The US demands, however, are remarkably similar to the ones the EU itself proposes to make of passengers travelling to Europe, making the officials shouting ‘blackmail’ and ‘troublesome’ somewhat unlikely guardians of the citizenry’s freedoms.”

statesman.com: Tiffany lawsuit puts heat on eBay to fight counterfeits

“A U.S. court case might require eBay Inc. to pour more money into blocking the online sale of counterfeit luxury goods.”

Evolution of Security: A Few Thoughts on Consistency and Where We’re Going…by Kip Hawley

“I would like to address one of those issues now: ‘why do I get different results at different airports?’ There are two main issues: a) process consistency, where we want to have the same result everywhere; and, b) purposeful variation so as not to offer a static target.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2008-2-8

Friday, February 8th, 2008

ars technica: TSA answers our question, changes policy after blog comments

“When the TSA launched its Evolution of Security blog last month in an effort to engage in open communication with travelers, my colleague Jon Stokes expressed skepticism and characterized as laughable the prospect of TSA acting on feedback from the public. Having written about the ineptitude of TSA in the past myself, I was emphatically inclined to agree with Jon. It looks like we might have passed judgment prematurely, because it only took TSA one week to start making broad policy changes in response to feedback received through the blog.”

Roseville & Rocklin Today: Organized Retail Crime Ring Busted

“Dave Kemp spotted suspicious activity by a shopper within the Longs store on Stanford Ranch Road in Rocklin and obtained the license plate number of the car that the shopper and two others left in. He suspected that the shoppers were involved in ORC based upon the methods of filling shopping carts; specifically, the type of products being taken and the method of hiding the products in the shopping cart.”

cnet: How will Real ID affect you?

“The Real ID law is touted by Homeland Security officials as an anticrime and antiterror measure, but is steadfastly opposed by some state governments on privacy and sovereignty grounds. Computer scientists also have raised concerns about how its creation of a national interlinked database would work in practice. . . . Real ID will require states to share detailed information about anyone with a state ID card or driver’s license, perhaps through a network called AAMVAnet, which the Department of Transportation is paying to expand in hopes of supporting the massive amount of data that will be exchanged. Databases owned by Social Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also be integrated.”

casino.co.uk: Is Casino Fraud Increasing?

“There has been a flurry of police investigations and arrests on the subject of Casino fraud, although surprisingly it has been a number of casino employees whom have been arrested. So is Casino fraud on the increase or is this just a spate of fraud cases hitting the media?”

b-eye.com - Business Intelligence Network: What is Master Data?

“The enormous interest in master data management (MDM) that has appeared in the past couple of years has not yet generated a great deal of methodological progress. Hopefully, as data professionals, consultants, and vendors grapple with the complex issues involved, the situation will improve. A central problem, however, is that there is little agreement about what master data is.”

[Note: Look for our upcoming blog post on Identity Resolution vs. Master Data Management, a part of our series on Mistaken Identity Resolution.]


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