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Vietnam completes biometric verification for 13M amid fraud concerns

Vietnam completes biometric verification for 13M amid fraud concerns

Vietnamese banks have successfully completed biometric verification for over 13 million customers in just two days, with the aim of enhancing security and streamlining services. The milestone, reported by SGGP, however, comes with emerging concerns about inadequate protection against fraud schemes with unsophisticated spoofs and vulnerability to biometric data theft.

A new rule that came into effect on July 1 requires Vietnam’s banks to perform face biometric authentication of customers making 10 million Vietnamese dong (approximately US$393) at once or VND 20 million ($785) in a day or opening accounts. This initiative aims to reduce the reliance on traditional methods like passwords and PINs, in a bid to minimize the risk of fraud and improve the overall user experience.

However, the surge in biometric adoption has been accompanied by a rise in fraudulent activities. Vietcombank has issued warnings about scammers impersonating bank employees to extract sensitive information from unsuspecting customers under the guise of biometric updates, Việt Nam News reports. These fraudsters typically contact victims via phone or email, claiming that biometric data needs updating or verification, thereby coaxing them into divulging personal details or even transferring funds.

A recent case that underscored the vulnerabilities in the system involved the use of simplistic techniques to dupe selfie biometric checks on banking apps, VNExpress International reports. Fraudsters employed high-resolution photos and videos to deceive the apps’ security features, raising alarms about the adequacy of current biometric safeguards, which appear not to include liveness or presentation attack detection (PAD).

ID cards extended to children

In parallel with the biometric verification efforts, the Vietnamese government is also working on expanding its identity card program to include children and individuals under 14. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to build a comprehensive national database that can support various digital services, including banking. This will be the first time Vietnamese citizens under 14 years old can be issued identity cards upon request.

Children’s fingerprint, face and iris biometrics are captured during the registration process.

Under the Identity Law 2023, Vietnamese citizens under 14 years old who are issued identity cards will face less paperwork when completing administrative procedures.

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