How 10 Pesos Can Unlock a Financial Fantasy in Mexico

Mexico's INE black market is fueling a surge in identity theft, with fake IDs available for a mere 10 to 1,500 pesos. Fintechs, banks, and unsuspecting citizens bear the brunt, raising questions about the battle against identity theft in Mexico's financial landscape.

How 10 Pesos Can Unlock a Financial Fantasy in Mexico
Fake IDs, known as INEs, change hands digitally on platforms like Facebook and Telegram, fuelling a surge in identity theft.

In a world where buying a fake identity is as easy as ordering fast food, Mexico finds itself in the throes of a peculiar crisis. The black market for voter credentials, locally known as INE, has transcended shadowy alleys and seedy backrooms, infiltrating the digital realm and wreaking havoc in the country's financial institutions.

Fernando G. Paulin, the maverick CEO and Co-Founder of Trully, a company specializing in the unmasking of fraud, dropped a bombshell at the STP Summit 2023. “Buying an INE is super easy in Mexico, on different channels, on Facebook, on Telegram, on WhatsApp. Buying an INE costs you from 10 pesos to 800, one thousand, one thousand 500 pesos.” In a bizarre twist, these INEs come with an extra feature – pre-qualified credit scores, opening the door to a Pandora's box of financial crimes.

Imagine getting an ID with a credit bureau score of 700, meticulously crafted for your devious deeds. It's a steal, quite literally. Fernando, with a wry smile, explained how this nefarious innovation ensures that not only can you impersonate someone, but you can also swindle financial institutions into thinking you're a creditworthy saint.

“It costs you a little more, but that guarantees that you can apply to a financial institution and that they will give you credit in someone else's name, Fernando shared. His tone betraying the surreal ease with which this dark trade unfolds.

The seismic shift toward digitalization brought about by the pandemic has inadvertently fueled this identity theft explosion. Trully's data reveals a jaw-dropping 54 percent surge in impersonation fraud between 2020 and 2021 across various companies. “Unfortunately, the greater the digitalization, the greater the exposure to fraud for companies,” laments Fernando, acknowledging the harsh reality of our interconnected, vulnerable world.

The victims of this clandestine industry are not limited to faceless corporations; real people are bearing the brunt. Trully has unmasked companies where up to 10 percent of their client portfolios are fraudulent. Fintechs, Sofomes, and fledgling enterprises lacking robust user detection processes find themselves particularly susceptible. However, don't let the big banks rest easy; they too are not immune to the insidious clutches of impersonation, even in something as sacred as mortgage loans.

As the boundaries between the virtual and the real blur, Mexico's INE black market thrives, leaving financial institutions grappling with a dilemma: How do you protect against an enemy that can wear the face of anyone? It's a question without an easy answer, and as long as INEs continue to be the golden ticket to a stranger's financial kingdom, the battle against identity theft in the Mexican financial landscape rages on. Welcome to the quirky, unsettling reality where your next-door neighbor might be borrowing a loan in your name, courtesy of a fake ID bought for the price of a fast-food meal.