Before you can issue a security biometric, a secure driver's license, or a smart card for access to a corporate network or facility, you have to get to the heart of the identity management problem. And before an identity can be tied to a biometric, document, or smart card, you need to know that the person presenting that identity is who they say they are.

Until identities can be verified with reasonable assurance, all the fingerprint scans, holograms, and Java cards won't stop identity theft, fraud, and the host of other crimes that can be committed with a false identity -- from corporate espionage to terrorism.

Enter San Diego, Calif.-based ID Analytics. Building on well-established regimes for credit and access management, ID Analytics has developed a system for scoring identities as a way to search for fraud. In the same way a credit score rates the risk that a person is able to repay a loan, ID Analytics has developed not just software, but an entire network, to score identities. The higher the score, the more likely someone is not who they say they are.

''What we do as a company is really dramatically different in the ID space,'' Steven Gal, vice president of corporate development and general counsel at ID Analytics told Inside ID.

ID Analytics was founded in the spring of 2002 by veterans from Fair Isaac, which makes predictive modeling, scoring, and analytic applications, including credit scoring solutions; HNC Software, maker of Falcon software, which detects credit and debit card fraud and scans 90 percent of all credit transactions; and the financial and telecommunications industries.

In the fall of 2002, in an effort to build a model to detect identity theft, ID Analytics launched the U.S. National Study on Identity Fraud, using data from 13 major consumer companies and more than 200 million applications across five industry verticals.

Identity theft is an enigma among crimes. There is a lack of primary knowledge about how it happens. ''Most of what we know, either as victims or from the authorities, is learned after the identity has been stolen,'' Gal said.

What ID Analytics' study found is there are thousands of patterns in identity theft. Once the patterns started to emerge through the study, ID Analytics could build a technology to pattern identity theft.

The end result is what ID Analytics calls its ID Network. Data is added to the ID Network by ID Analytics' customers, including market leaders among bank and retail card issuers, wireless carriers, online retailers, banks, and public agencies. The network includes hundreds of millions of identity fraud indicators. Hundreds of thousands of additional fraud indicators are added to the network daily.

''You can only see these patterns by looking in real-time across several industries,'' Gal said.

The end result is what ID Analytics calls its ID Network. Data is added to the ID Network by ID Analytics' customers, including market leaders among bank and retail card issuers, wireless carriers, online retailers, banks, and public agencies. The network includes hundreds of millions of identity fraud indicators. Hundreds of thousands of additional fraud indicators are added to the network daily.

''You can only see these patterns by looking in real-time across several industries,'' Gal said.

This article was first published on InsideID.com. To read the full article, click here.