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Five Digital Identity Trends to Watch in 2022

In 2020, the world went online and fraudsters were quick to pounce on the opportunities as businesses rapidly digitised their operations. The wave of opportunistic fraudsters drove the rate of identity document (ID) fraud up by 41% in 2020. 

The fraud landscape has changed over the past year. While the fraud rate has increased and remained consistently high, this year’s most concerning trend has been an increase in the volume of sophisticated fraud.

At Onfido, we measured a 57% increase in sophisticated fraud in 2021, compared to the previous year. Sophisticated fraud is defined as that with less obvious errors that require document analysis software to detect, such as imitated security features, incorrect fonts or the wrong photo printing technique.  

Given the rise in sophisticated identity fraud over the past 12 months and the staggering losses of $712 billion as a result, it is critical that organisations understand the most common trends and take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

So, what are the key identity fraud trends you’ll need to prepare for in 2022? Here are the five that Onfido has identified based on analysis of its proprietary document and biometric verification data:

Don’t expect the situation to get better

There’s been a 44% increase in identity fraud since 2019. And this spike in fraud – catalysed by the pandemic – appears to be here to stay. Despite governments and businesses lifting some physical restrictions, consumers are much more comfortable transacting online. And fraudsters won’t walk away from this growing pool of targets.

Fraudsters act once you’ve clocked off

Before the pandemic, fraudsters typically mirrored the general working week and were most active between Monday and Friday. But now it appears they are taking advantage of businesses’ downtime. With fewer employees working at the weekend, suspicious activity might be overlooked or flagged too late.

Your passport to fraud

In 2021, passports were amongst the most frequently attacked documents. Across the world, the Belgian, American, Australian and Spanish passports were the documents most frequently flagged as suspected fraudulent replicas. The UK can’t rest on its laurels either; the British & Northern Irish Passport ranked as the 8th most flagged document. One reason for this may be that a fake passport is less effort for fraudsters to create as, unlike identity cards which are typically examined on both the front and back, passports are a one-sided document.

It may be a fake – but it’s an original fake

Over 90% of ID fraud submitted for analysis by Onfido involves counterfeit documents, usually a complete reproduction of the original document. Forgeries that alter original documents (both (digital and physical) accounted for just 7.4%. This high rate of reproduction is likely to be driven by the vast array of template files available online. And of course, modern ID documents also contain integrated security features that make modifications easier to detect.

Biometrics are a big fraud deterrent

We find that far fewer fraudsters try to attack biometric checks (both selfie and video) compared to a document check alone. In fact, the average rate of document fraud for 2021 was 5.9%, dropping to just 1.53% for selfies and 0.17% for videos. And this approach is popular with consumers too. Our consumer research found that over three quarters of consumers found biometrics a convenient (76.7%) and secure (82.8%) means of authenticating transactions.

With no sign of identity fraud abating, it is important that businesses are aware of the increased risk it presents. Understanding the threats and how leading-edge document analysis and biometric solutions can help you identify even the hardest to detect, sophisticated fraud could make all the difference in 2022. And with high performance digital identity solutions driving up to a 261% return on investment, what are you waiting for?


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