Every two seconds someone’s identity is stolen, according to experts in the field. Identity theft is an increasing concern for individuals and businesses operating in an increasingly digital climate.
Identity theft is a “silent” crime that can go undetected for months. Despite efforts to educate, this type of fraud continues to rise. We have all read the stories of people’s identities being stolen and then used to create fake credit accounts where copious amounts of debt are raked up. Everything from houses, luxury vehicles and jewellery.
Simple steps you can take
- Regularly Check Your Credit Reports: Credit reports will include any suspicious activity on your financial accounts. This will help identify any discrepancies and not let identity theft spiral out of control.
- Never Give Out Personal Information: This may seem obvious, but it needs to be plainly stated. Fraudster regularly pose as a bank or credit card employee asking for details to address something in your account. This should be a dead giveaway as the bank will never ask for your personal information.
- Mix up Your Passwords: Passwords are your first line of defence but if you have the same password across accounts you are leaving yourself vulnerable. Use different passwords for each account or platform and regularly change them. You can use a password manager to keep track of your passwords.
- Limit Your Exposure: Do not carry around multiple credit cards or identity documents on you to limit your exposure if your wallet is stolen. When online shopping always use two-factor authentication. If you are browsing the web on a public Wi-Fi, be sure to use a VPN to protect your data. Be vigilant when receiving emails from unknown sources, avoid clicking links that you are unsure about.
- Be vigilant: if you are aware of the current trends in identity theft, you are better equipped to tackle them. You cannot take the security of your data for granted.
Biometrics to keep you safe
These simple steps help you to protect your identity, but more is required to give you peace of mind. Traditional passwords are increasingly under attack, so an added layer of security is needed to secure your data. New technology is racing to stay ahead of hackers. The next frontier in identity protection and authentication is biometrics.
Physical biometric features can include fingerprints, handprints, etc. Fingerprint recognition is one of the oldest forms of biometrics and is highly reliable and accurate when it comes to authentication. Fingerprint based biometrics are highly popular because of their familiarity and usability. Fingerprints are unique to individuals and are therefore more reliable in verifying identities than a password, or asking what your favourite food or movie is, or where you went to school.
Biometrics and identity theft
Fraudsters are always going to look for the weakest link in the chain and with advances in technology, they can pinpoint these weaknesses easier than ever before. While no authentication system is invincible, it’s a lot easier to crack a password than a biometric identity. Biometrics are an effective defence against identity theft. With data encryption and similar high-tech innovations, your personal information can be securely stored. Elements such as PINs can be cancelled or changed if it is lost, misplaced, or stolen. On the other hand, biometric identification can’t be lost, misplaced, or loaned to a friend.
Biometrics for business
The exponential growth of the internet along with the increase in e-commerce applications usage calls for stricter security controls within businesses. Identity-based security is equally as important as physical security for organisations to protect business and financial data from unauthorised access.
Identity theft is a great concern for organisations, as it is very difficult to prove that a theft has occurred. The need for stronger security mechanisms like biometrics has become crucial to businesses to safeguard their data and secure their bottom-line. Biometrics utilise physical characteristics that are specific to individuals, making overcoming biometric security protocols more challenging.
Biometrics provides security benefits for everyone. It has been successfully implemented in many critical applications and has been used in access control for more than a decade. Biometrics satisfies the conditions of authentication, non-repudiation, confidentiality, and integrity. Out of all the currently existing security methodologies, biometrics is able to provide very strong access control and security solutions.
At the end of the day, hackers will always try to steal identities and the valuable data that is associated with them. However, taking the necessary steps to protect yourself against identity theft can save you from being a victim. The implementation of fingerprint based biometric security can significantly increase the security of data stored on electronic devices such as mobile devices or company computers. Therefore, organisations and individuals looking to enhance the security of their networks, systems, and data can do so conveniently and reliably with the help of biometrics.
If you suspect that someone is not quite who they say they are, you should delve further and verify their identity. At MarisIT, we offer a Biometric ID Photo Lookup service that you can use to verify the fingerprints of a person against GOV database and it will return a photo of the individual if available. Secure your data and minimise your risk today.