Giving ID theft the finger

May 2009 News

A South African company hopes to create a new market for itself by integrating biometrics into the everyday shopping experience.

1 Finger is a new incentive being launched in May 2009 by 247 Technologies. It is a solution designed to eradicate identity theft in South Africa.

Many people have had the problem of being left with debt because someone stole their identity and opened accounts on their names. When this happens, it becomes the victim’s problem to clear their name on credit bureau systems and, in many cases, the victim is even forced to settle the debt created by the criminal. In some cases the victim cannot prove he or she did not create the debt.

The 1 Finger system using a person’s identity number and/or passport number, as well as 10 fingerprints, will keep a record of all transactions where 1 Finger was used to verify the identity of the user. Not only would criminals not be able to open accounts using a stolen identity, in the unlikely event that they do, 247 Technologies will be able to prove from the vendor’s historical records that it was not the victim.

Vendor security

Sellers can also stop people fraudulently opening accounts in their businesses, paying with stolen credit cards and other activities that cost billions of rands annually. Fraud related to identity theft cost South African businesses R276-million in the first three months of 2008, according to Alexander Forbes Insurance, as reported in the Mail & Guardian on 22 April 2008.

If this is not enough of an incentive to insist on all clients using the 1 Finger system when dealing with a company, businesses can also integrate the system directly into their systems through the free software development kit for system integrators. The kit will be available in June 2009.

Wherever 1 Finger is used, a client would be able to verify the authenticity of their personal information provided by reading his/her fingerprint on a biometric reader. This will also create an audit trail of their business dealings. For a fee, users will receive an SMS each time the system is used.

Fingerprint identification is not only used by the police to solve criminal cases. It is also used by government to make pension pay outs, pay grants and by over 400 of 247 Technologies clients to control access to their business and pay salaries against time and attendance data collected via fingerprints.

For more information contact Peter Krauspe, 247 Technologies, 0861 101 738,

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