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ITRC urges biometrics to facilitate US unemployment benefits claims, as ID.me chosen by Massachusetts

ITRC’s Eva Velasquez says antiquated systems vulnerable to fraud

online age verification

Eva Velasquez, president, and CEO at the Identity Theft Resource Center, has called for improved authentication methods, and biometrics in particular, both at a state and federal level.

In an online interview with ISMG, Velasquez discussed the benefits of biometric authentication to tackle unemployment benefits fraud.

According to the CEO, the reason why so many unemployment fraud scams were successful was due to the U.S. government’s antiquated infrastructures.

“These systems were simply not equipped to handle the volume of the illegitimate requests they were getting, much less the volume of fraudulent requests that were coming in,” she explained.

Moreover, knowledge-based authentication would no longer be secure to protect oneself from fraud attempts, as a substantial amount of personal information is publicly available on the internet today.

Instead, Velasquez said, the U.S. government should abandon worries related to biometric applications, and embrace these technologies and their enhanced security level.

“I know it bothers people a little when we talk about biometrics,” Velasquez explained, “but they can be really useful, and they can get very granular.”

She then went on mentioning other forms of authentication, including geo-localization, behavioral biometrics, and MFA.

Various biometric applications have been already used by companies to reduce fraud online in the last few months, particularly with fraud increasing during the pandemic.

Idemia has been selected to provide biometric anti-fraud technology for unemployment benefits claims in Oklahoma.

ID.me secures another state’s benefits claims

ID.me has been selected by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), meanwhile, to develop security measures to speed up identity verification for unemployment claims, WCVB reports.

As a result of the new partnership, ID.me started verifying existing claims last Friday, with new claimant’s verification expected in the coming weeks.

The move follows reported losses of more than $400 million in unemployment fraud scams and aims to contain these malicious attempts by introducing ID.me’s multi-factor authentication (MFA) measures.

The new digital identity verification system will only apply to the traditional unemployment insurance program, however, and not the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.

ID.me is providing its ID verification technology in biometric unemployment fraud prevention systems in states including Colorado and California, though it is unclear if biometrics will be one of the factors used in Massachusetts.

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