The US suffered an increase in the country’s unemployment rate thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, more people needed government aid to survive the current crisis. Congress passed the CARES Act, or the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, to provide unemployment benefits for eligible people.
Many criminals took advantage of the vulnerabilities in the government’s fraud prevention efforts and frauded their way to get their undeserved stimulus packages. State agencies were overwhelmed with multiple enrollments for the stimulus packages. Several of the applicants turned out to be fraudsters.
State agencies lost about 36 billion dollars collectively due to identity fraud, and the Federal Trade Commission noted 319,423 complaints regarding the stimulus package. About 54% of the stimulus complaints were for fraud, while 15% were for identity theft.
Congress included new provisions for the second rollout of the stimulus packages wherein state agencies must verify an eligible applicant’s identity. The provision does not state how the agencies must do it, but it provides them with federal funding to purchase the necessary solutions.
Relying on biometric identification and device-based authentication can help verify a person’s identity without using easily compromisable data. Hackers today can easily access a person’s personal data, but they can’t use another person’s biometric data and devices to verify their identity. knowledge-based authentication systems reliant on a person’s SSN, birthdate, tax filing status, and street address are no longer reliable.
Government agencies must start using replacing their legacy KBA systems, automated FIDO authentication solutions, and use modern data analytics to detect fraudulent activities. Leveraging automated systems and analytics lets state agencies streamline the verification process and detection, interpretation, and communication of data patterns to prevent attacks more efficiently.
Stopping identity fraud is even more important these days because more criminals find ways to get people’s personal data and use them for different things, including identity fraud for unemployment assistance benefits. This infographic by authID can provide more information on how to stop fraud.