Even before COVID-19, the world was going digital. But the pandemic accelerated the shift more quickly than anyone could have predicted. With stay-at-home orders in place, the introduction of remote working and remote learning, and widespread wariness about in-person transactions, many aspects of consumers’ lives became completely dependent on digitalization overnight. That won’t change post-pandemic.
The good news: Rapid digitization has unlocked the opportunities of the global economy for more people in more places than ever before. And while digitization has unfortunately also allowed identity fraud to flourish, AU10TIX CEO Carey O’Connor Kolaja recently told interviewers at Cheddar News that the technology exists to beat back that particular trend.
The increased incidence of identity fraud comes as major advancements in digital ID authentication are being introduced globally. At the dawn of this digital revolution, new forms of authentication can be expected to provide billions of people with greater access to the global economy. In fact, the ability to verify identities digitally has the potential to increase the GDP by 3% to 13% by 2030, according to McKinsey research.
AU10TIX talks identity fraud and digital identification on Cheddar News
So, what’s the connection between digital identification programs and inclusive growth for individuals, organizations, and even entire economies?
In the past, opening a bank account, applying for college or a job, for example, would require a person to have a face-to-face interaction. Their identity would be verified with the help of a paper-based ID such as a driver’s license or passport. But for those 3.2 billion people who currently have an ID but lack a digital trail and the other 1 billion who don’t have a legal form of ID at all, these things that many of us take for granted weren’t possible. Until now.
Combatting identity fraud with identity literacy
When it comes to identity fraud, knowledge—and not just technology—is power. Since more digitalization brings more criminal activity, it will be imperative for individuals to develop an “identity literacy” so that they stay both empowered and protected.
It can help to think of it like this: Every digital interaction—logging into a website, browsing an online store, favoriting a piece of music, posting an Instagram of your COVID-19 vaccination card—leaves a digital breadcrumb. Without the right protections in place, fraudsters can follow this trail of information, assembling it in ways that allow them to impersonate and steal from their targets. Identity fraud is a complex and continuous problem, and criminals are adept at adjusting to new circumstances and countermeasures. This requires us to continue evolving our understanding of what “identity” means, why it matters, and who holds the keys to it.
Most people today don’t understand the magnitude of identity fraud, or how much it has accelerated in the past few years. In fact, new research shows that identity fraud cost American consumers about $56 billion in 2020, with the bulk of that number coming from identity theft scams where criminals steal personal information—those digital breadcrumbs—and use it for their own gain. This represents a more than 300% growth in identity fraud since the start of the pandemic.
And since fraudsters continue to find more sophisticated ways to steal, identity literacy needs to evolve with continuous learning and the help of a trusted partner.
In an increasingly contactless and digital society, today’s digital ID verification technology is the best protection against identity fraud for both consumers and businesses.
Watch AU10TIX’s full segment on Cheddar News here.