Government agencies face ongoing challenges with account security and proof of identity, and the CoVID-19 epidemic has exacerbated the problem. All of a sudden, agencies were filing more and more claims for benefits, and most of the time, these claims were frauds. As the country continues to move towards a sense of normalcy, it is time to use the tools available now to prepare for future crises.
Government benefit programs for scammers are often the target of higher compensation, but the problem has reached an epic proportion in the last 18 months. These scams often target older consumers in particular, but throughout the epidemic, they have expanded to target anyone coming from government benefit programs. A significant portion of the risk associated with profit fraud comes from the mobile devices that people use to access their profits, and this is where government agencies can focus their efforts on greater impact. At TransUnion, we’ve developed a number of solutions to tackle fraud in the public sector, including real-time authentication with facial recognition and liveliness detection and machine learning, and we’ve developed the device for agencies. Seeing a great opportunity to better manage risk.
Mobile device optimization
First, government agencies need to acknowledge the fact that many consumers will use mobile devices for transactions. Mobile devices have different risk profiles than laptops or desktops, and benefit portals need to be optimized for these high-risk devices. For example, fraudsters and scammers often find it easier to target people’s smartphones through smashing or phishing attacks or insecure Wi-Fi networks. However, while some risks are unique to smartphones, they also lend themselves to more secure account management.
The inability of government agencies to fully verify the identities of applicants costs Americans billions. With understandably limited resources, such simple errors must be resolved quickly and efficiently. Smartphones have all the capabilities needed to improve the proof of identity for benefit programs. Their small size, built-in biometrics hardware and wide range of applications make them an important tool in the fight against fraud.
Smartphones: The Path to Biometrics
Most smartphones have a biometric verification system. In addition, they have facial recognition software that is impressively accurate and makes it difficult for scammers to fake. Considering that tech already exists where smartphones and watches can analyze heartbeats, it’s not hard to imagine a future where this and other biometric data will create even more secure identification. If the Benefits Program could use similar technology to verify applicants, with reasonable limits on matters of use beyond the applicants’ knowledge, consent and verification, additional security could result in billions of dollars in savings. ۔
However, biometrics go beyond simple facial recognition. Even more secure systems can use retina scans or behavioral measures, such as hand gestures, to provide even better authentication for users. My company and others, for example, are combining biometrics with machine learning to uniquely identify a device so that it can be accurately identified and compared with configurations that are malicious. Remind me of the intention. However, if government agencies include ubiquitous items such as facial recognition, it can significantly reduce the amount of fraud. True, implementing biometric measures at this stage of development can be costly, but even basic things like the use of existing facial recognition software will be a start towards securing digital transactions.
The key for profit agencies is to add more security while streamlining the customer experience. For example, clients may be prevented from taking overly complex security measures, such as uploading photos of an ID or submitting copies of documents. While these additional measures can make transactions more secure and reduce the hassle that a fraudulent account can take over, it also creates a more rigorous user experience. For Americans in need, this is not acceptable. Enter artificial intelligence and the ability to truly turn the tide.
The AI has the ability to turn the tide.
AI promises an astonishing increase in computing power and identity proof. In addition, AI can measure the distance between humans and authentication by providing real-time behavior analysis, identifying potential risk factors, and dynamically applying risk mitigation measures to each individual transaction. ۔
Government employees recognize that AI holds the key to securing online transactions. Many private companies, including ours, already have the ability to create user device profiles based on historical data to verify and flag potentially fraudulent devices. When a user verifies, their device is saved for future transactions. For example, logging in from a different device may cause a red flag, which would require additional login credentials.
It’s not just employees. Agency leaders agree that improving AI and identity verification will help them provide a better customer experience while ensuring greater security. In our recent study, more than two-thirds of respondents said that more investment is needed in these two areas to achieve this goal. In fact, 65% predicted that AI tools would improve both security and convenience for users when accessing their online accounts, and 61% believed that better access to authentication rules and The user experience will also improve.
AI also offers solutions to problems such as artificial identification, where scammers create an online identity for the sole purpose of fraudulently applying for benefits. For example, AI can identify patterns that create artificial identities, which can prevent this lucrative way of claiming benefits for scammers. In addition, AI can obtain data from a consortium of dozens of other companies to identify known signs of fraud.
These solutions are only effective when they are implemented. Therefore, before the next crisis, government agencies need to include identity verification in their application process. By taking small steps now, they are more likely to be able to respond quickly to future crises while maintaining a secure verification process.
Jonathan McDonald leads TransUnion’s public sector business, providing key mission solutions to US agencies.