Identity Theft Startup Civic Plans to Stop Identity Fraud Before It Happens
PALO ALTO, Calif., July 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Civic, an identity protection network, today announced its official launch and public beta of its app, which will help Americans manage their identity and stop identity fraud before it happens. Upon sign-up, members will instantly receive a $1 million identity theft protection policy, for the life of their free membership to Civic. Research has shown that identity fraud continues to rise. According to Javelin’s “2016 Identity Fraud: Fraud Hits an Inflection Point” report, there are 13.1 million fraud victims in the U.S. and there was a 113 percent increase in new account fraud in 2015 alone. Civic plans to combat this issue by providing members with the ability to respond to instant alerts whenever their identity is being used.
Civic believes that the rise in identity fraud has become such a public concern that the only solution is for consumers to become proactively involved the moment their personal information is used instead of fixing the problems after they have occurred.
At launch, Civic will send a push notification via the app or an email via the online service when a member’s Social Security number is being used with one of Civic’s partners. The email will appear in real-time, alerting the member the moment a new account is being opened. The alert will provide information on where the Social Security number is being used, giving members the ability to call and report the fraud before the new account has been processed.
Civic will go one step further and provide members with the ability to approve or deny a transaction taking place with the push of a button. Civic has engineered a two-way authentication process whereby it verifies both the user to the institution and the institution to the user, providing end-to-end protection for both parties whilst maintaining user privacy. Institutions that pay Civic a small fee will be a part of the two-way authentication process and will be alerted when a user denies a transaction, allowing them to instantly stop the fraud.
“Your Social Security number was never meant to be a form of identification,” said co-founder and CEO, Vinny Lingham. “It was created to track your Social Security benefits but has since evolved into the broken standard for identifying someone. We now have a situation where people can easily impersonate someone else remotely. The bottom line – Americans are not in control of when and where their personal information is being used and we plan to change that.”
As Civic continues to onboard financial institutions, the company will also offer an additional layer of protection through credit bureau, TransUnion®. Civic members will instantly receive a push notification via the app from TransUnion in the event of a change to their credit report.
Part of the free membership to Civic also includes a program that gives members free access to identity theft consultants via a hotline. These experts will be available 24/7 and provide guidance to Civic members through various identity theft situations, including, but not limited to: document replacement, email compromise, employment ID theft, financial ID theft and tax ID theft.
Civic raised $2.75 million round in seed funding in February and is currently in the process of signing partners from industries that would use a Social Security number as a form of identification. Civic’s first partners include background check technology startups GoodHire and Onfido.
“Now that information lives forever online, people are rightly concerned about when and how their personal data is used,” said Max Wesman, vice president at GoodHire. “Our partnership with Civic is an extension of GoodHire’s commitment to empowering people with more access and control over their own information.”