ID Theft Becoming More Difficult With New Recognition Tools

Id theft costs consumers millions of dollars a year. In many cases, recovering your good name and identity with your credit card companies and other financial institutions is a nightmarish hell. Most vulnerable are senior citizens who are easy prey for scammers.


The good guys, though, are fighting back with some new state of the art technologies. Two of them are heart rate scanning and facial recognition.



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ID Theft: Heart Rate Scanning

Your heartbeat’s electrical rhythm is unique to you, whether you’re sitting still or taking a brisk walk, meaning that an electrocardiogram scan could authenticate your identity. ECG monitors are being incorporated into watches and wristbands, which can communicate with other devices via Bluetooth.


Facial Recognition

Some flagship Android phones are fitted with facial recognition tools. For example, Apple introduced Face ID for the most advanced iPhones and iPads. The technology, introduced in 2011, is now more advanced and secure.

The popularity of this tech can be attributed to a simple factor: Nearly all devices today — phones, tablets, computers — have cameras. A single image is sent to computer servers, encoded into algorithmic numbers, and then verifies the face.


Going All In

For those people that don’t trust external technologies, Swedish scientists have invented a microchip that can be implanted into your body. The tiny chip exchanges data using signals, and eliminates the need to carry keys, passes and credit cards.


The chip can also store data, like your contact details and blood type. The chips are no bigger than a grain of rice and are inserted with a needle into the hand, usually between the thumb and index finger.


At Epicenter, an innovation center in central Stockholm, many on-site workers have microchip implants. “I use it to open doors, to operate the printer and to buy stuff,” says Per Söderström, 63. “I don’t want to carry around all my keys and credit cards as well as cash,” he adds, as he grabs a can of Coke out of a vending machine, a transaction he completed by swiping his hand across a card reader.


To some, this may be the ultimate security: An implanted chip can’t be lost or stolen. But, on the other hand, there are risks. For example, someone who has an near-field communication reader on a cellphone could place it against another person’s chip and read the information off it.

Nothing is 100% fool proof, but much progress has been made.

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