Problems with identity authentication are something financial institutions have faced for a long time and they seem to have increased even more with increasing internet use around the world. In 2017 16.7 million Americans became victims of identity thief and in 2018 more than 1.5 million websites were created every month to phish for credit card information and passwords. In an age when more online transactions are taking place, these risks should never be underestimated.
Verifying that someone is the rightful owner of a name, credit card, bank account, or any other information is essential for both financial institutions and businesses. The methods range from basic verification – like using a phone number, fingerprints, facial scans, or vocal recognition – to the use of AI to analyse a user’s behaviour pattern.
One of the methods that has become more and more popular is the use of biometrics which includes analysing physical data that is hard to forge. Examples of this data are fingerprints, portrait photos, and voice. MasterCard, a payment service provider, has introduced a system called “Selfie Pay” which lets users verify their purchases by using their self-portrait photo instead of a password. Some banks also enable the users to log in with face and voice ID – a system which analyses the identity of a user’s voice based on 100 components to verify their identity.
However, some companies have taken the use of biometrics to a new level, like Banco Bradesco, a Brazilian bank, which uses PalmSecure systems to identify their ATM users. The users put their palm on the scanner and PalmSecure takes an infrared scan of the position of visible blood vessels in the user’s palm. The scan is then compared with the original data of the account’s owner before the transaction is allowed to be processed. This verification method is very hard to fake, so it is a highly secure option.
Another way to prevent identity theft is the termination of a transaction if the user seems suspicious. eShopWorld, an Irish online shopping website, uses a system developed by Ravelin which applies Machine Learning technology to analyse the data of each user to determine whether they may or may not be a fake. If a user is suspected of being an identity thief, they will be asked to take more verification steps or their transaction will immediately be terminated. This helps eliminate sellers’ concerns regarding the use of stolen credit card data, claims that the buyer has not received the item, and refund requests.
Some organizations are also interested in new solution technology like Blockchain. Trusted Identity, a solution developed by IBM, manages personal information that requires authentication from the data’s owner every time before the information can be used, and which uses a cryptographic mechanism to identify both parties. The information stored on Blockchain is always encoded, and therefore stealing the data or trying to modify it is close to impossible.
Although current technology has become more advanced and this helps to prevent the problem of identity theft, risks can’t be eliminated entirely and so users should always be on guard so they don’t become victims. Basic methods that will help you protect your identity data include regular password changes, checking the address carefully when you visit a website, or before you give your personal information, and being up-to-date with identity theft news.