Fraud is an unfortunate reality of everyday life in South Africa. Recent statistics point out that 77% of South African companies must deal with fraud daily, and with cybercrime increasing in severity, the challenges that fraud presents are growing daily.
The Southern African Fraud Prevention Services (SAFPS) is the champion of companies and individuals who face these challenges and is the first line of defence for companies and individuals who are seeking protection.
In the fight against fraud, the SAFPS is on the verge of launching its Secure Citizen App which will deal a significant blow to fraudsters.
Through the Secure Citizen App, members of the public will be able to provide the SAFPS with biometrics such as voice recordings and photographs of themselves. The SAFPS will store this information and keep it on record.
“The real benefit of the Secure Citizen App will come in when members of the public apply for credit at financial institutions which are SAFPS members. Once a credit application has been made, the financial institution then contacts the SAFPS and advises them that a credit application has been made. An sms is then sent to the individual who applied for credit; once the individual indicates that they did apply for credit, and the SAFPS receives the first indication that it is not dealing with a fraudster, the biometric information that was provided by the financial institution is checked against the biometric information that the SAFPS has on record. If the individual indicates that they did not apply for credit, or the verification of the biometrics fail, then we know that we are dealing with a fraudster from the outset,” says Manie van Schalkwyk, Executive Director of the SAFPS.
The benefits of the Secure Citizen app to the credit provider/financial institution, will be a perfect advertisement for why the institution should be an SAFPS member. Banks deal with fraud daily, and through the Secure Citizen App, along with consumers, they can receive a peace of mind that their struggles against this scourge has received a major boost.
The Secure Citizen app also offers major benefits to the insurance industry. A common tactic within the industry is that a fraudulent individual will open a life insurance policy or a funeral policy with several different insurers. The families of these fraudsters would then lodge multiple claims against a fake death.
“Secure Citizen will assist the insurance company to ensure that they are dealing with the correct individual which should eliminate multiple claims in different names,” says Van Schalkwyk.
The role of technology
The role of technology in the battle against fraud was highlighted at the 3rd Annual SAFPS Conference, which was held at the Indaba Hotel.
The influence of technology is growing in our daily lives and the benefits that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can offer cannot be ignored. “AI is the future of fraud prevention. It is already becoming big businesses and will be a $60 billion industry in five years’ time. This will provide an even bigger blow to the battle against fraud, specifically in the online space,” says Van Schalkwyk.
In a world that is becoming increasingly interconnected, the public needs to be assured that they have the necessary protection against fraudsters provided that they supply us with their biometric information. Through the Secure Citizen App, the SAFPS is confident that the battle against fraud is becoming a lot easier and that the scales are finally being balanced away from fraudsters.