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First-party fraud is defined as ‘the use of one’s own identity to commit a dishonest act for personal or financial gain. Identifying repeating abusers early helps protect businesses from fraud-related risks, ensuring a secure and reliable environment for consumers and providers. Effective prevention measures include robust, consortium-based identity verification processes, continuous monitoring, and data analysis to detect and prevent malicious activities. Prioritizing first-party fraud prevention safeguards businesses, keeps the bad customers out the door, and provides a better experience for their good and long standing customers, and fosters a secure economic ecosystem.

Common First-Party Fraud Schemes

  • Bust Out Fraud: A scheme where a seemingly legitimate individual or group establishes credit, only to suddenly max out the line and disappear without repaying debts.
  • Chargeback Fraud: This fraud tactic occurs when a consumer falsely disputes a credit card transaction to secure a refund, exploiting the chargeback process.
  • Goods Lost in Transit: When someone falsely claims that goods were lost during shipment to obtain refunds or replacements.
  • De-shopping: The act of purchasing items with the intention of using them and then returning them for a refund.
  • Government Loan Fraud: Involves manipulating information to fraudulently obtain loans or financial assistance from government programs.
  • Ghost Funding: Creating fictitious financial transactions or accounts to deceive individuals or organizations about the existence of funds.
  • ACH Fraud: Unauthorized access to Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions, often involving the fraudulent transfer of funds.
  • Mortgage Application Fraud: Inflating income, assets, or property value in mortgage applications to secure loans under false pretenses.
  • Loan Stacking: refers to the practice of getting approval for multiple loans or lines of credit simultaneously within a short period. Loan stacking generally happens online and can be done by either individuals or businesses.
  • Dispute Abuse: the act of abusing financial services organizations’ dispute policies (also known as RegE) to falsely dispute a legitimate purchase or a series of those and avoid financial liability for goods purchased.
  • Loan and Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) abuse: refers to the action of getting access to a line of credit with the full intention of never paying it back.
  • Better’s remorse – the act of falsely claiming that a certain bet was fraudulently placed as a result of a bad/lost gamble.
  • Check Kiting – defined as the practice of covering a bad check from one bank account to another, is another illegal tactic. Persons with multiple bank accounts use this advantage because it takes multiple days to process checks. The check that has been deposited increases the fund available. Fraudsters deposit the same check into multiple different bank accounts and cash it in before the institution has a chance to clear the check).

How to Prevent First-Party Fraud

First-party fraud is a growing threat, and you must understand how to prevent it. Here are the steps your business needs to take to protect its financial assets.

  • Implementing Robust Identity Verification Processes: Require multi-factor authentication, document verification, and other advanced verification processes. This ensures the accuracy of customer identities, making it harder for individuals to provide false or partial information or think twice before using their real identity to perpetrate fraud.
  • Regularly Updating and Monitoring Customer Information: Keep customer profiles current and conduct periodic reviews to identify any unusual or suspicious patterns. This allows for prompt intervention when discrepancies arise.
  • Utilizing Fraud Detection Tools and Technologies: Employ cutting-edge fraud detection tools and machine learning algorithms to analyze transaction patterns, detect anomalies, and identify potential instances of first-party fraud in real time.
  • Employee Training on Fraud Awareness and Prevention: Educate employees about the various forms of first-party fraud. Emphasize the importance of vigilance, adherence to security protocols, and prompt reporting to enhance overall organizational awareness.
  • Establishing Strict Internal Controls and Audits: Implement rigorous internal controls, such as segregation of duties and regular audits. This will minimize the risk of internal collusion. It also ensures that checks and balances are in place to deter and detect fraudulent activities.
  • Collaborating with Industry Partners and Sharing Information: Foster collaboration with other businesses and industry partners. It helps everyone when you share information about known fraudsters or repeating abusers, emerging trends, and best practices. This encourages a collective defense mechanism against first-party fraud that spans multiple organizations.

By combining these preventive measures, businesses can create a comprehensive and resilient defense against the various tactics employed in first-party fraud, promoting a secure and trustworthy business environment.

Find out more about first-party fraud trends and how to safeguard against losses.

Who Commits First-Party Fraud?

Individuals or entities commit first-party fraud, often with diverse motives and characteristics. Motives range from financial gain to personal desperation, driven by factors like economic instability or mounting debts. Common characteristics include deceitful manipulation, a willingness to exploit trust, and adeptness at presenting false information.

Perpetrators may strategically establish legitimacy, making detection challenging. Whether driven by opportunism or desperation, understanding the varied motives and characteristics is crucial for developing effective preventive measures. Businesses must employ robust identity verification, transaction monitoring, and employee training to stay vigilant against the multifaceted nature of first-party fraud, safeguarding against potential threats.

As for who commits first-party fraud, there isn't a single profile that fits all perpetrators. They could be:

  • Average Consumers: Every day individuals facing financial difficulties or seeking personal gain may engage in first-party fraud.
  • Organized Groups: Some cases involve organized groups or criminal networks specializing in fraudulent activities, deploying more sophisticated techniques.
  • Insiders: In certain instances, employees within an organization may participate in first-party fraud by manipulating information or exploiting their position.

What is the Difference Between First, Second, and Third-Party Fraud?

First-party fraud involves individuals using their own identity to commit a dishonest act for personal or financial gain. Common types of first-party fraud include, chargeback fraud, dispute abuse, loan stacking, and goods lost in transit (GLIT).

Second-party fraud occurs when a fraudster persuades a user to willingly give their credentials or personal information away. Common types of second-party fraud include money laundering, mule accounts and fraudulent loans.

Third-party fraud, or identity theft, occurs when a user gains access and exploits an individual’s identity or personal details without their consent. Common types of third-party fraud include credit card fraud, phishing, and account takeover.

Want to protect your business against first-party fraud? Explore Socure’s Sigma First-Party Fraud solution.