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ID verification still a major concern for businesses, consumers

Jun 13, 2013 Dave King

In recent years, data breaches have increased significantly, leading to a more widespread prevalence of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission has fielded hundreds of thousands of complaints related to identity theft in each of the past several years, illustrating why businesses need to focus on creating and enforcing more effective ID verification standards.

The federal government has become more vigilant in the fight against identity theft, especially as several studies suggest that this crime is responsible for billions of dollars in losses each year. With information increasingly being kept in digital environments, companies need to make sure that they have strong data governance and ID verification policies in place.

Consumers increasingly concerned
A recent eWEEK article explained that Unisys, a provider of IT services, conducted a survey which revealed that identity theft is now the biggest financial concern of Americans today. Credit card fraud and identity theft have moved into the top security concerns of the average U.S. citizen, while physical threats do not seem to bother the population as much as several years ago.

According to the news provider, the Unisys Security Index has been conducted for the past six years, and is backed by research firm The Lieberman Group. Out of the 1,000 individuals surveyed in each country, 52 percent of Americans fear that their credit card information will be stolen and used in an identity theft scheme at some point.

Identity thieves can steal a high amount of money in a very short period of time, while the most costly instances are those that go on for several years without being noticed. Regulators suggest that companies keep a close eye on all accounts payable and receivable, and that consumers diligently check their bank statements and credit reports to identify irregularities.

Still, while consumers are more concerned about the integrity of their identities, they are often not the most affected by attacks. Steve Vinsik, vice president of global security solutions at Unisys, noted this point to eWEEK.

"The impact of cyber-attacks [is] not really felt by consumers," he told the news provider. "The costs are absorbed by banks and other businesses, and then those fees get passed onto the consumer at the end of the day."

The source added that the score has declined in the past couple of years, indicating that the worries are subsiding for at least the moment.

Honing in on ID verification enforcement
The Delaware Attorney General's office recently announced that it co-hosted an ID training summit with Dover law enforcement professionals, National Public Radio reported. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been increasing efforts to educate all local law enforcement in the signs of ID theft, as well as the best practices of preventing and eradicating incidents.

While federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are becoming more astute in these practices, businesses remain the first line of defense against identity theft. With strong ID verification policies in place, companies can avoid the various negative side-effects of an identity theft scheme, including incurred financial losses and hurt reputations.