Harnessing mass data to fight identity theft online
With so many monetary transactions happening online, it’s no surprise that identity fraud is a real and growing threat. In the US, almost 13 million people were victims of financial identity theft in 2014.
When Yaron Samid spotted an unauthorised charge on his bank statement, Googled it, and discovered that many other people were disputing the same transaction, it occurred to him that harnessing the collective vigilance of other consumers may be a useful way to fight online fraud. He teamed up with Raphael Ouzan, and together they created BillGuard.
BillGuard is an app that allows you to track your transactions, and alerts you when you might be at risk of identity fraud, hidden charges and billing errors. Much of the data comes from other users flagging transactions as fraudulent: if a payment appears in your statement and other BillGuard users have reported similar transactions, you will be alerted and asked to verify the payment as legitimate.
Another popular feature is a tracker that alerts you when a free subscription morphs into a paid one. And if you fall victim to identity theft, BillGuard can help you cancel and replace all of your cards, contacting financial institutions on your behalf to let them know of the breach.
The New York start-up launched in 2010 and five years later approximately 800,000 people are using BillGuard’s data-breach app. It is currently available in the US, following temporary rollouts in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It will be available in those countries again soon, when the credit monitoring features can be incorporated across all markets.
The standard BillGuard subscription is free and available to download on the App Store and Google Play.
Image 'rainbow of credit' courtesy of frankieleon
Last updated: 25th of August, 2015