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Banks hit with biometric fraud, fake mobile driver’s licenses

Banks hit with biometric fraud, fake mobile driver’s licenses

As long as the quest for secure digital identity persists, so, too, will attempts to game the system. From aggravated identity theft to gaps in face biometric security measures, loopholes in existing systems have led to bank fraud in the U.S. and India, say reports in the Credit Union Times and Times of India.

In Louisiana, a man on probation for multiple counts of bank fraud added to his tally, using a state-issued mobile digital driver’s license app to open accounts at as many as nine banks and credit unions. Robert Lee Daniel III also secured a $41,844 loan to purchase a pickup truck, lied about his income, and deposited thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks.

Daniel did all of it using a mobile driver’s license (mDL) he’d secured by using stolen credentials that he knew belonged to a real person, who authorities identified as A.S.M., an inmate at a Louisiana prison. Once Daniel had the mDL downloaded onto his smartphone via the LA Wallet digital identity app, he could apply for accounts in A.S.M’s name.

Daniel has been sentenced to 65 months in prison and, following his release, a period of supervised release to last three years.

“Although these are typically known as nonviolent crimes, the actions of this defendant are inherently dangerous to the community,” said a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District if Louisiana. “They violate privacy interests and take advantage of the state’s technological advances.”

In addition to Louisiana, states that offer mDLs include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah.

The many faces of fraud

Insufficient biometric data has led to vulnerability in the Aadhar system maintained by India’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). IDs created without face biometrics matching allowed criminals to generate multiple IDs with the same photo, using fingerprint data acquired from authorized agents.

A dozen bank accounts were opened with fake Aadhaar cards all bearing photograph of the same person, Delhi Police discovered.

In September 2022, the UIDAI announced that it was adding a liveness detection feature to Aadhaar to detect real fingerprints and fake silicon copies. But police in Delhi found that the system also failed to differentiate live fingerprint biometrics from silicon copies provided by the agents. Furthermore, its iris scan verification tool could not recognize colour printouts provided instead of actual eyes.

Aadhaar, which provides a unique 12-digit identity number to residents of India, is the world’s largest biometric ID system.

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