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Identity Theft: Introduction and Prevention using Technology

by Seamfix

 

According to (Weick 1995), Identities are lenses through which people make sense of the world. Imagine meeting someone for the first time and the first question that pops up in your mind is, “who are you?” 

Almost by reflex, we want to know who this person really is and confirm they are exactly who they say they are. 

As the world continues to evolve at a rapid pace due to technological advancements, global industries are required to not just adapt, but daily utilize new knowledge and discoveries to seamlessly meet their end goals. 

One area that has seen massive growth spurts and changed the way we live and conduct business is digital identity management – a system of associating and verifying an individual’s identity parameters.

Technology has now led to a transition from the ordinary ways of establishing our identities (Examples: Name, Social Role, Family Class etc, Race) to more specific and digitized ways that allow for better identification (Examples: Biometrics, Characters, Credentials).

These new ways of verifying identities are solving many challenges for Africa’s startups and impacting the digital economy.

Yet, as with all things man-made, it brings its own faults. Going digital with your identity puts you on the map, which also means, someone somewhere has access to it, whether authorized or illegal.

This guide will address the elephant in the room- Identity Theft and how Technology still remains the solution to a problem that began before official Identities were even a thing.

 

Introduction to Identity Theft

 

Identity theft is the term given to a crime where someone else’s personal identifying information is used to commit fraud or make unauthorized transactions. Another one would be cases where someone’s identification details are used without any knowledge or authorization.

Here’s a story of Laura who received a call from a seemingly ‘veritable’ person claiming to be her bank account manager.

She was asked to send her account details and ATM card numbers in order for her account to be upgraded. Just within seconds, her account was cleared up, leaving no dime for her.

Stories like Laura’s can be very devastating and unfortunately common in a digital world. Identity theft is happening more than ever before, with more individuals losing their personal data, properties and having their data identities abused by illegal users. 

For reference, a report by RiskBased Security revealed that a shocking 7.9 billion records have been exposed by data breaches in the first nine months of 2019 alone. This figure is more than double (112%) the number of records exposed in the same period in 2018.

 

Identity Theft

 

So how does Identity theft happen?

The means may vary but the goal is the same – gain access to an individual’s information to take actions on behalf of that individual without authorization.

There are ways, however, that you can protect yourself against identity theft.

Although most identity thieves use technology to perform their illegal acts, the truth is that advanced technology is and will remain the ultimate prevention tool.

 

How Seamfix uses Technology to Prevent Identity Theft

 

As cases and methods of identity theft arise, Seamfix is constantly empowering organizations across Africa to secure the identity management space. 

 

  • Verification of Identities and Documents to Prove Genuineness

Identity verification helps organizations to avoid doing business with identity frauds and impersonators. 

As a market leader with focus on everyday identity challenges and risks that individuals face, we have provided a solution that bridges the gap on identity security, validating identities anytime, anywhere.

This solution is ‘Verified.africa’., a validation services with Multi-factor Authentication that confirms who individuals claim to be.

Using an intelligent system and set of validation processes to confirm identities online and in real-time, Verified.africa can connect to multiple authorized sources of individuals’ information to confirm the ‘real’ identities of individuals against who they say they are.

Watch the 1 minute video to learn how Verified.africa is the most secure validation service against identity theft.

 

 

 

  • Use of Secure Digital Forms to Collect and Protect Customer Data

 

Identity data breach happens frequently when this data is collected, stored or transferred.

To prevent these breaches, organizations must ensure they use secure data collection and storage platforms to prevent unauthorized access, and discourage hackers.

One of these data collection platforms is Bioregistra. A data capture and analytics solution that enables organizations to collect all forms of real data – from textual to biometrics to pictures and geolocation. This data is then securely stored in a private server that’s only accessible to an authorized user.

Data can also be encrypted to lock access and make that information inaccessible anywhere in the world— safe and secure from identity theft.

 

  • Track, Manage and Secure Mobile Devices to Prevent Unauthorized Access

For large organizations and agencies, sensitive data can be stored on multiple mobile devices spread across staff and agents.

Losing any of them can expose a customer’s identity to security breaches and malicious attacks.

A smart mobile device manager is the right and effective way to monitor how these devices are being used and ensure that the identity data that they carry are protected at all times.

SmartMDM offers a robust platform to safeguard your devices and the data they carry even remotely.

By getting real-time insights into core activities happening with the devices assigned to users and all data captured, anywhere from a central point, you can manage risks and even blacklist devices/users in case of a breach. 

Blacklisting will either restrict a user’s access to the device and its content, or lock up the device, allowing an organization to buy time before an illegal transaction can be carried out on that device or using an authorized identity.

Seamfix is making a constant effort to eradicate identity theft and fraud in Africa. Read more on our mission for Identity Management Here.