Despite countless warnings and measures to safeguard customers, identity theft in South Africa continues to escalate. According to reports, someone’s identity is stolen every two seconds somewhere in the globe.
According to recent figures from the National Council on Identity Theft Protection in the United States, identity theft would cost Americans about $6 billion in 2021. In the same year, the Federal Trade Commission received 5.7 million fraud and identity theft complaints, with identity theft accounting for one-quarter of them.
Identity theft is estimated to cost the South African economy more than R1.5 billion each year. At some point, almost everyone is touched by identity theft, whether directly or indirectly.
The upward trend
Even before the COVID-19 epidemic pushed people online during the early severe lockdowns, digital transactions were on the rise. Now that the coronavirus’s health effect has subsided, the usage of online platforms to buy, bank, and conduct business has increased, with the value of worldwide online transactions reaching into the billions and growing.
Fraudsters, hackers, and organized criminal syndicates have been chasing the money and have stepped up their efforts to acquire access to victims’ personal information and identities.
Customer negligence is not the only source of identity theft. There are definitely persons and criminal syndicates that explicitly target individuals, but there are also algorithms and bots that look for weaknesses to exploit.
There are various benefits to switching from a physical identity to a digital identity, such as efficiency and inclusiveness. According to research, a solid digital identity may help with improved user control of data, privacy protection, online transaction security, and lower aversion to transacting online, among other things.
Financial institutions are rapidly realizing the value of modern biometric verification technology in protecting themselves and their customers from not just identity theft concerns, but also money laundering fraud, regulatory penalties, and reputational harm.
Less savvy individuals and bank clients have been unwilling to use biometrics to access internet services. When customers realize that they are adding an extra layer of protection against fraud and identity theft, they are significantly more ready to go the biometric onboarding way.
When clients realized that biometric verification technology improved their cyber security, one financial institution saw a 100% rise in the number of customers who used it.
Security and safety
Given the worldwide emphasis on anti-money laundering and efforts to prevent illegal funding, onboarding in financial services and wealth management is becoming more crucial. The financial sector, notably the banking business in South Africa, is emphasizing on biometric verification for safety and security rather than as a formality.
Governments and organizations that have not yet completely adopted digital biometric identity verification face an increasing need and necessity to do so. There is not just a local push to adopt this transformational technology, but also a global one. Verified evidence of identification will become more frequent in online safety and security since it protects the integrity of organizations and people – and their financial activities.