American Express unit releases new digital security product as identity theft rises

July 16, 2020.

An subsidiary launched a new artificial intelligence-enhanced cyber fraud detection product to combat the rise in identity theft, particularly related to the opening of fake online accounts and account takeovers.

The U.S.-based credit card issuer’s unit Accertify on Thursday released its new service which “empowers organizations to trust and verify who is on the other side of a digital transaction.” 

The move enhances offerings from the card company, which is used primarily by business clientele and bigger-spending customers. American Express, the fourth-largest credit card issuer by cards in circulation, is the largest by purchase volume.

Identity fraud led to $16.9 billion in losses in 2019, according to an April report by research firm Javelin, the most since 2013. Javelin said fraudsters are also targeting fewer victims for greater damage and shifting to checking and savings account takeovers, in which they obtain unauthorized access to accounts.

Accertify, which cited Javelin’s report, noted that last year’s losses from account takeovers were up 72% from 2018. The cyber security business said customers may be even more vulnerable to such fraud amid the current pandemic, as they might be less likely to check on their lucrative rewards balances while staying at home and abstaining from travel.

“The current rise in digital identity fraud is an important wakeup call that the stakes are high and fraudsters are no longer purely focused on monetizing stolen payment details,” said Accertify president Mark Michelon.

Accertify Digital Identity uses machine learning and other tools to analyze “billions of data points” — including a user’s device, behavior and previous online activity — and assign a “trust score” for website visitors, the company said. It claimed their product will track users throughout a website to more quickly identify fraudulent activity such as account takeovers and scripted bot attacks.

It will also recognize trusted users and require them to complete fewer security measures on the website, Accertify said. 

“By pairing Accertify Digital Identity with our fraud and chargeback management products, we have the first end-to-end protection that helps organizations defend the entire customer digital journey — from account opening, to login, account activity, purchases and chargebacks,” Michelon said.

Accertify was founded in 2007 and acquired by American Express for $150 million in 2010.