Biometric identity company iiDENTIFii says hundreds of millions of rands have potentially been claimed from the Unemployment Insurance Fund's (UIF's) Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS ) through fraudulent or corrupt applications that could have been eradicated with the correct identity document authentication.
It indicates that, according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the World Bank and United Nations foresee individuals across the globe having a digital identity by 2030.
“This deadline may appear a long way off for a country that has been forced by its Auditor-General to take both the TERS and UIF systems offline and hold payments, while a direct engagement took place with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to validate the authenticity of millions of ID documents,” posits iiDENTIFii.
“For a country, already in economic dire straits and marred by accusations of corrupt Covid-19 tender contracts implicating government officials, the need for key decision-makers across both the public and private sectors to protect themselves against identity fraud is crucial,” comments iiDENTIFii CEO Gur Geva.
iiDENTIFii cites the Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, which shows that South Africa ranks the third highest in the world for reported economic crime with bribery and corruption making up 42% of the type of economic crime, after customer crime, which stands at 47% for 2019.
The level of economic crime in South Africa remains significantly high at 60%, compared with the world average of 47%. “These numbers are staggering – even more so when the technology exists to eradicate the level of fraudulent activity occurring due to identity theft.
"As the level of readily available data increases, so does the proficiency to be able to hack it which means that a significantly larger effort needs to be made at government and executive levels to protect personal information from fraudsters,” notes Geva.
iiDENTIFii has developed biometric facial recognition technology that interfaces with the DHA and can onboard an individual within 30 seconds that references each facial image with a live selfie of the person and the identity documentation itself, the company states.