In recent news, South Africa has been shocked by numerus cases of identity fraud in the telecommunications, e-commerce, and financial sectors.

The South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) has indicated that there have been major increases in instances of identity fraud, with impersonations up by 337%.

“Biometric identification offers businesses and ultimately consumers the ability to protect their finances and their actual identity as well,” says Gur Geva, founder and CEO of iiDENTIFii. “It is beneficial for the public to understand elements of facial authentication and how it adds an extra layer of security.”

Geva explains that there are facets of biometric identity and security that need to be explored so organisations and consumers can see the positive attributes the industry has to offer.

As the level of instances of identity fraud are on the rise, so are the various technologies used to combat these issues. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), revealed the 79% of survey respondents have seen an increase in fraudulent activities as of November 2020. This proves that fraud is a global issue and not just a South African problem.

Geva says: “As we continue to embrace a digital lifestyle, there are simple steps companies and individuals can do to protect themselves, like using biometric security measures such as facial verification, limiting the personal information shared on social media and by requesting encryption on sensitive documents like bank statements.”

One of the most effective ways businesses can mitigate the risk of fraud and protect their customers is by following the KYC principle. If a strong KYC policy is implemented into a business environment, these companies will no longer unwittingly provide services to fraudsters and money launderers.

“How KYC works is simple,” says Geva. “It ensures a live, verified identity is established alongside a sustainable service agreement. This also helps create trust between the provider and the customer because the relationship has that added layer of security, and, ultimately protection.”

Geva explains that there is a fundamental difference between facial verification and facial recognition; with consent being the key differentiating factor. As Africa moves forward in providing every citizen with a digital identity by 2030, it is imperative that racial bias is avoided at all costs. With facial verification, the individual willingly provides a live image or selfie and agrees to the full scope of its usage.

In contrast, facial recognition is an ambiguous process where it is not uncommon for a person’s facial identity to be pulled from a disreputable source. Often these are used for nefarious purposes such as identity theft and large-scale fraudulent activities – affecting both individuals and companies.

Geva concludes that these factors play an important role on the global stage of biometric security.

“The level of accuracy that biometric security provides all environments – whether public, private or personal – is invaluable. It is no secret that the biometric security industry is set to reach over $68,6-billion in value by 2025, and this estimated growth provides further proof as to why biometric security is a critical service for all organisations and individuals.”