Financial Service Providers
The driving force behind financial identity theft is the acquisition of financial assets. Money is the main motivator. Perpetrators of financial identity theft predominantly acquire these financial assets from financial service providers. This demonstrates the vital value of financial service providers in the overall problem of financial identity theft. The significance of financial service providers is evident; yet, the role and associated responsibility of financial service providers is often a source of conflict and inconsistency. This conflict centers around the question of whether financial service providers embody the role of victim, villain, or both with respect to identity theft. Throughout the literature, especially in the past, financial service providers have received empathy due to financial losses suffered as a result of identity theft. To many, financial service providers are the true victims of financial identity theft. Through the rise of critical academics and interest groups, the potential facilitation, or the villain aspect, of financial service providers stepped out of the ‘victim’s’ shadow. Since the acknowledgement of the facilitation of financial identity theft by financial service providers gained more prominence, the business practices used to realize such facilitation also became the object of increased scrutiny. Financial service providers predominately include banks and credit card companies. Other relevant actors included in this chapter are supervisory organs and consumer reporting agencies since their involvement in the financial world, and therefore their inclusion in this chapter, assists in the development of a more comprehensive image of the relevant interactions in the financial services sector. Furthermore, their inclusion is also vital for the background descriptions of various developments with regard to business practices. This chapter reviews business practices based on three different phases including the acquisition of clients, the application process, and the account activity of existing clients. The first two aspects are particularly relevant for the potential facilitation of true name fraud, whereas the last phase predominantly concerns account takeover.