Federal, State Agencies’ Aid Programs Face Synthetic Identity Fraud

If a person loses their state ID or their driver’s license, they may — depending on the regulations of their state — need to take a trip to the Secretary of State’s office or Department of Motor Vehicles and wait in line with a handful of significant documents proving their identity in order to replace it.

That is, until COVID-19.

As states closed their government buildings in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, government agencies were forced to reckon with how unprepared their antiquated systems were to provide digitized services during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic requiring the public to shelter in place. Simultaneously, the public and the private sector faced cyberattacks that left valuable, sensitive information in the hands of threat actors.

So, how do government agencies administering public benefits prevent fraud and protect valuable personal data? That question was the subject of “Future of Identity Fraud Roundtable,” an online panel hosted on June 17 by Socure and Venable. During the discussion, experts weighed in on the unique challenges government agencies face when verifying people’s identities, providing government assistance, and preventing synthetic identity fraud, in which cybercriminals combine real information with fabricated information to build a fake identity

“I think pretty much every state and government entity is seeking to deliver good quality digital experiences to our constituents,” said J.R. Sloan, CIO for the State of Arizona, during the panel. “During the pandemic phase … this was a public safety issue. We needed to be able to

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