Biometrics and the rise of ID fraud

The use of biometrics as an authentication method for online payments is on the rise. A new study by Paysafe shows that over half of UK adults have used some form of biometrics to make a payment in the last 12 months. Biometrics allow a person to be identified and authenticated based on a set of recognisable and verifiable data such as facial recognition, speech recognition, eye scanning or finger printing.

The reason that this is important is that from 14th September 2019 a new European regulation known as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will come into force, which requires all online purchases to be made using two-factor authentication from a choice of three including some form of biometrics, a form of hardware such as a phone or a password/pin. As a result, it is expected that biometrics use is set to grow significantly in the next year.

 But the study shows that consumers are less than happy about biometrics. 53 per cent are worried that the shift to biometrics to authenticate online payments will dramatically increase the amount of identity fraud. Over a third stated they did not want companies having access to their personal biometric details – understandable considering the rise of data breaches - and over a quarter were concerned that their biometrics could easily be cloned and used to commit fraud.

The fear is not unfounded given that studies show that identity fraud is on the rise and identity fraudsters are constantly innovating to find more ways to successfully steal a person’s identity. The issue of biometric data also has implications for deceased identity fraud. Already this form of fraud is proven to go undetected for longer but if fraudsters are able to clone fingerprints of deceased individuals to use as authentication for online purchases then this has the potential to go unrealised for even longer. It will therefore be more important than ever for organisations to have safeguards in place to identify purchases made by customers that have passed away.