We’re experts on fraud and identity
My co-founder Max and I were both early employees at the online lender Affirm. I was the first data scientist and later built and led the Risk Decisioning team, responsible for all of the code and models around approvals and declines. Max led Risk Operations, and was in charge of all the manual work around case investigation. We worked hand-in-hand: whenever the operational team would find a new fraud vector, the decisioning team would ship a new automated solution to stop it.
One day we came across an interesting and unusual case–twelve applications for credit, all with the same name and DOB but with twelve different SSNs. The probability that there were twelve different people, all with the same name, all born on the same day, and all of whom decided to apply for loans to purchase expensive, fenceable goods on the same day at Affirm, seemed vanishingly small.
Clearly, this was fraud, and there was no way these identities could exist as real people, and so we went to shut down the accounts. Before doing so though, we double-checked the credit reports that we tried to pull on them, expecting that the bureaus would have no-hit responses or some other error code or indication of fraud. To our great surprise, all twelve of them had real credit reports with really good (700+) credit scores, and with every major bank, lender, and financial institution showing up as having issued them credit.
We realized that there was a big risk issue impacting the entire industry, which nobody seemed to be aware of, and decided to start SentiLink. Max Levchin, co-founder and CEO of Affirm (as well as co-founder at PayPal) helped us start the company by leading our seed round. We’ve since raised $85M from Andreessen Horowitz, Craft, NYCA, Felicis, and many others.
Five years later, we work with over 100 institutions in the US to help stop fraud at account opening. We’ve expanded far beyond synthetic fraud to handle ID theft, KYC, first party fraud, and many other cutting edge risk issues. Along the way we were the first organization in history to use and offer eCBSV.
The reason so many organizations have entrusted us to support their fraud and identity programs is the deep understanding we have of fraud and identity. Just as we did at Affirm, we have a Risk Operations team that manually reviews a subset of the applications we process every day, looking for new fraud vectors, ensuring that our products and models stay performant, and making sure we stay on top of the latest fraud tactics and trends. This is so important and foundational to our culture that every Friday the entire company spends an hour reviewing cases together.
“Who are you?” is a very simple question to state, but as anyone in this space can attest, it’s an extremely hard question to answer. We’re proud of the work we’ve done at SentiLink to help institutions answer this question for their customers, to help customers seamlessly prove who they are, and to stop bad actors from harming both. There’s still so much to be done though–come join us!
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