How Biometrics Can Stop Unemployment Scams

April 13, 2023    |    4 minute read

How Biometrics Can Stop Unemployment Scams

April 13, 2023    |    4 minute read

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According to Forbes, “the Covid-19 pandemic caused the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression, creating a ripe opportunity for scammers to steal Americans’ unemployment benefits” – this act of stealing someone else’s unemployment benefits is known as an Unemployment Scam (or Unemployment Identity Fraud). This generally happens when criminals use someone’s information to illegally receive unemployment benefits. With access to stolen personal information, they can create (or gain admittance to) an unemployment account and steal the claimant’s intended benefit payment; and with unemployment offices moving to virtual or appointment-only models in the wake of the pandemic, the very idea of unemployment scams is only becoming more common. 

It’s become more important than ever for states or government entities to adopt effective anti-fraud measures with the startling rise of unemployment scams in the United States. These acts threaten the integrity of state-funded benefit programs without proper protocols in place at enrollment – such as a verification process. If there are no steps to verify a claimant’s true identity at onboarding, who’s to say the claimant is truly the claimant? 

Fortunately, there is a solution: biometrics. This gives more weight to the onboarding process. Imagine being able to simply match a selfie with liveness detection to a government-issued I.D. Well, with biometric verification, you can; and with biometric authentication, it goes a step further.  

In this blog post, we will explore how biometric technology can help prevent unemployment scams and keep your organization safe. 

1. The Problem with Traditional Authentication Methods

The reason traditional authentication methods, such as usernames and passwords, are vulnerable to fraud is because they can easily be stolen or shared. In fact, in the case of unemployment scams, fraudsters are often able to access multiple accounts with the same login credentials.  

It’s no secret that in today’s world, the majority of people have experienced password fatigue based solely on the number of tools, apps, and devices requiring a unique password – thus culminating in duplicate passwords across multiple systems. However, consider a tool likeKnomi® (our mobile biometric authentication platform), where such software can provide password-free, multifactor authentication using facial and voice biometric recognition and liveness detection. 

2. The Benefits of Biometric Verification and Authentication

When it comes to security, the first line of defense is verification; making sure that the person requesting access is associated with the relevant data. Authentication is the next step, which confirms that the person is actually who they say they are (via fingerprint authentication, facial recognition, voice authentication, or iris recognition). These two steps are crucial in maintaining the integrity of any security process.  

Additionally, it eliminates the need for passwords and minimizes human error (in the way people store passwords, codes, etc.). By using biometric technology, organizations can be sure that the individuals accessing their systems or programs are who they say they are. 

3. Biometrics in Action

In recent years, organizations at a state level have started adopting biometric technology to prevent unemployment scams. For instance, the State of Colorado recently implemented facial recognition technology to verify the identities of individuals filing for unemployment benefits. Similarly, many banks have started using facial authentication and fingerprint identification to prevent fraud on account access. 

4. Action Steps for Preventing Unemployment Scams

On a personal level, stay vigilant when it comes to emails received and sites visited – never give out personal information to a website you’re unsure of. However, when it comes to state/government-run unemployment organizations, introducing and utilizing biometric technology is the key to combating unemployment scams, and Aware is here to educate you on the process every step of the way; because with 25 states (as of July 2021) currently utilizing some form of facial recognition technology to verify unemployment benefit applications, the process isn’t slowing down.  

With these powerful tools in place, state/government-run unemployment services can ensure that the personal identity of its users is kept safe at the very start of enrollment, while still allowing easy access to services. In addition, biometric technology can help lower processing costs, reduce user wait times and increase overall user satisfaction. Further down the line, biometric authentication gives the user peace of mind that their personal information is safe, while the organization can be sure they have the necessary tools in place to prevent any sort of unemployment scam from occurring. With all these benefits, this exciting form of authentication offers a viable solution for states seeking to mitigate unemployment identity fraud with precision. 

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