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Mitigating Identity Fraud With Fingerprint Biometrics

May 22, 2008
Identity fraud is a crime that costs all of us. As measures have been increased in recent years to mitigate identity fraud, so too has the level of sophistication of the fraudulent acts. Persons that were dedicated to committing fraud had the upper hand for some time, but technology is now catching up to these predators.

Identity Authentication Goes Digital:

Like many forms of communication, a transition is occurring to move paper records to a digitally stored format. Paper identification methods had a downside of being open to tampering. For a while predators where keeping pace with advances in paper record security, in particular home office technology allowed the criminal element to keep up with changes in state-issue ID cards. To stay ahead of criminals seeking to commit identity fraud you need to have an ID authentication process in place. Moving from a dependency of paper to a streamlined digital system is one way identity fraud risk patterns can be identified and mitigated.

The Case to Move Away from Human Error:

Paper forms of identifying a person rely heavily on the skills and ability of a human to identify potential fraud and risk. Training personnel can help with fraud caused by paper records, but there is still an accepted level of human error that is permitted. By placing less reliance on humans to perform an ID check and more reliance on digital technology, the human error factor is reduced and higher efficiency rates can be achieved.

The Case to Move towards Digital ID Authentication:

Moving away from a paper-based identity verification system to one that is digital is a matter of accuracy. By providing your customers with a digital form of identity authentication you are providing better customer service and an added benefit of lower costs because the digital system through increased accuracy can further reduce costs that are passed on by identity fraud. Moving towards a digital ID authentication system means the addition of hardware and software can replace the human error factor that occurs by human-only verification.

The Case to Utilize Fingerprint Biometrics:

Fingerprint biometrics are a leading digital technology that can be utilized in digital identity authentication. Those in a point of service setting that use fingerprint biometrics do so by scanning a customer's ID through a system and instructing the customer to use a keypad to match fingerprints with a stored fingerprint identity. Fingerprint biometrics help increase the chances that the person in front of you presenting an ID is that ID's true identity. The result is an ability to capture and link fingerprints to a single ID record, which will increase fraud prevention and help ensure fraudsters do not attempt to use multiple identities.

The Case to Implement Biometric Verification:

Those in a point of service setting pay for fraud twice, once stemming from the initial act of fraud and a second time as a result of cost of goods, services and even insurance rates increases. Biometric verification can help resolve the problem of ID fraud and provide the point of service person that the customer presented is the actual person represented on the ID. The benefit of a biometric verification is that legitimate multiple IDs can be linked to a single person through one unique biometric fingerprint records. The additional benefit is that this unique biometric fingerprint can not be utilized in multiple fraudulent IDs.
About the Author
Michelle Thiel is an advocate for the information industry with an interest in public bankruptcy records, mortgage fraud (lendingl fraud), and id authentication via biometric verification.
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