Hardly a day goes by before a new story hits the headlines about another fraud. No one it seems is immune from the
French president to the man in the street, small businesses to large corporations, there is no safe haven, with all protective measures apparently inadequate to reduce this rising
crime. Latest crime figures have shown that the
identity theft basis for fraud is the fastest growing crime in the UK and this trend is keeping pace with global figures.
What can be done? Individually we have been told to shred paper with personal information but this is still not preventing the rise of identity theft. ‘Know your customer’ requirements have been beefed up by various European Directives meaning there is a
massive increase in personal information kept on an electronic file somewhere. We all know about the catalogue of missing disks from government agencies but how many more are lost but unreported?
Web purchasing has been increasing year on year and normally entails completion of personal details to authorise the purchase. This is dead easy to hack into!
More on-line subscriptions increase the likelihood of losing control of your identity. More and more personal details are given up by more and more people to any number of government or commercial organisations. The list is endless of where personal details
are kept on file and there is going to be even more personal details being bandied around the world, as mobile purchasing and the use of technology to make our lives easier increases our personal risk.
The identity card scheme that the government has tried to get passed in Parliament can either be seen as a reduction of personal identity risk or another method of increasing it?
Technology can be the saviour but also be the very thing that is increasing our risks. You will note that identity theft was not a huge issue twenty years ago but has sufficed as the web and various institutions capture more of our data.
So what’s the answer? We certainly can’t put the genie back in the bottle, so we are left to create a more solid barrier against criminal activity. This has to be a combination of legal protection for the individual, as well as more individual responsibility
but with tough penalties against governments and commercial businesses that do not have robust and maintained security measures of the data. This brings the argument back to technology.
There is some terrific technology in the market place, which can be used to combat the criminal and companies like Thales who are experts in the field of security who can offer advice and systems. However, there must be a necessity to align the technology
properly within the correct environment. Therefore we probably need to finally visit the issue of identity cards. IdenTrust are one of the organisations that have been pushing for standards in the identity of corporates, financial services firms, funds, accounts
and individuals for sometime. They almost have a mandate based on the SEPA and MiFID directives to establish a global identity framework.
This crime is on the increase and it’s now time to pull together all the various organisations that have some role in creating an effective barrier. Who could drive this initiative?
It’s a mixture of political and legal issues; with financial services just one of the worlds industries that needs to buy in. The driver has to be from a legal standpoint, which will in turn, lead to passing new directives and laws that will create the energy
for implementing system solutions.
It looks daunting but not impossible!