AI is a crucial tool in the fight against fraud

January 10, 2022 Matthew Peake

Onfido is a global digital identity verification provider which establishes that people really are who they say they are. We are on the front lines of combating identity fraud while offering the highest levels of security and privacy. Our artificial intelligence (AI) based technology verifies whether a government-issued ID is genuine or fraudulent. It then compares the document against an individual’s facial biometrics to determine if they are the genuine owner of the ID. Every day our leading biometric and AI technology, coupled with human-in-the-loop oversight, helps businesses confirm their customers’ real identities.   

The growing threat of identity fraud

Identity fraud occurs anytime someone tries to use another person’s stolen information (such as name, date of birth, and Social Security number) to commit a crime. The pandemic and enforced lockdowns drove people to use digital services more than they ever did before. This, combined with the speed of technological innovation, means the number of fraud attempts and sophistication of fraudster tactics has only grown.

Insights from our 2022 Identity Fraud Report

As the world opens again, the rate of fraud attempts has still not dropped back to pre-COVID levels. Onfido’s latest Identity Fraud Report 2022 takes stock of these trends and highlights why we must stay alert to the growing threat of identity fraud. The data reflects the greater amount of time spent online by people around the world. Put simply, more online activity creates more opportunities for fraudsters. 

While fraud attempts continue at high levels, the type of attacks continue to evolve. There are three that stood out.

  1. Average identity document (ID) fraud rates have increased by 44% since 2019. This increase was driven by more ‘unprofessional’ and opportunistic fraudsters. 

  2. We are seeing a lot more ‘medium’ sophisticated fraud. By medium fraud we mean attacks with less obvious errors such as incorrect fonts or imitated security features, and this number jumped over 55% over the last year. 

  3. Passports have overtaken National Identity Cards as the most frequently attacked form of identification. This indicates a shift in fraudsters’ methods as they choose to target the one-sided passport page, rather than a two-sided ID card. By choosing to target the most high-assurance document, they are hoping that a passport’s reputation will help the fake go undetected.

How do we stay ahead of the fraudsters?

As fraudsters evolve their techniques, so must the detection and prevention methods. It is no longer enough to simply look at a document to determine if it is real, it is essential to check all its security features and ensure that the person presenting the ID is the true owner.

From crossing borders to logging into our bank accounts, security, privacy and certainty of identity are central to modern life. This is why Onfido has invested heavily in AI and biometric technologies, and is now a market leader in establishing real identity, helping to combat identity fraud, money laundering and document forgery.

This powerful AI is able to validate IDs quickly and accurately, and the biometric technology identifies a person based on unique traits such as their face or fingerprints. This ensures that the user present is who they say they are, and their ID is genuine.

This protects individuals from identity fraud, helps them access services online, and adds real value to the economy. For example, losses from identity fraud in the US increased 42% in 2020, costing businesses $712 billion. In tough economic conditions with sustained pressure on resources, fraud prevention on all levels will be a key tool to ensuring a continued economic recovery.

Industry and governments must work together to ensure that fraud-fighting technologies can be deployed successfully to identify and stop criminals. With the need for AI becoming ever clearer, policymakers around the world are looking at what sort of frameworks should be implemented to make sure that this powerful technology is used responsibly. As policy and laws develop to meet the evolving technological landscape, it is crucial that new laws recognize the huge positive benefits that AI can offer, and don’t give fraudsters an advantage.

For more information about fraud trends, and measures you can put in place to protect your business and customers, read Onfido’s Identity Fraud Report 2022.

 

About the Author

Matthew Peake

Matt is Onfido's Global Director of Public Policy. He has nearly 20 years experience in public policy roles in telecoms and technology. Prior to Onfido, he spent over 10 years as Head of Policy for UK and Ireland at Verizon, the US tech giant, overseeing policy across a range of areas including digital competition, cyber security and privacy. Matt holds a law degree (UEA), MBA (Henley Business School), post-graduate diploma in Competition Law (Kings College) and diploma in business international relations and the political economy (London School of Economics).

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