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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection The Resource Center | article

Biometric Solutions Being Explored to Curtail Identity Theft

While there may be no means of completely securing sensitive information from determined hackers, this technology could give consumers additional peace of mind.

Biometrics involves the use of biological data, such as DNA, fingerprints or other unique personal identifiers.

Today’s businesses engage in a constant back-and-forth struggle with hackers and other parties that seek to gain access to their customers’ personal and financial data. While the number of significant data breaches that make the news, such as recent events at Kmart and JPMorgan, may make it seem like a losing battle, new and improved strategies to protect consumer data are regularly being considered. ABC News recently explored the latest strategy businesses are considering to combat identity theft, and it may strike some readers as being out of a science-fiction novel.

Biometrics involves the use of biological data, such as DNA, fingerprints or other unique personal identifiers as a safeguard. The source explains that this technology is "poised to replace older forms of authentication" to provide additional identity theft protection. Soon, ABC News explains, fingerprint verification, facial recognition or even possibly retinal scans will become "the new normal." While there may be no means of completely securing sensitive information from determined hackers, this technology could give consumers additional peace of mind.

Biometric identifiers are anticipated to function much like the credit card information they are meant to protect. Just as swiping a card at a retailer will cause information to be sent from the store to the bank, biometric identification data will also travel electronically. For example, a consumer will place their fingerprint on a reader, and that information will be sent to a database for confirmation before the purchase can be finalized.

While these solutions may be expensive for organizations to implement, the costs are paltry when compared to the losses involved in a large-scale credit information breach. The recent Home Depot event that affected over 56 million customers is thought to have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, in addition to the incalculable cost of the damage to the company's reputation. Target's breach is thought to cost the company an excess of $1 billion.

Credit card theft has emerged as a major concern for many consumers, and the threat only grows as the holiday shopping season grows nearer. However, even such technologically advanced solutions such as biometrics will not be able to offer complete security. The Associated Press recently reported on the growing practice of identity thieves "harvesting voice samples" to fool voiceprints used in identity authentification processes.

While biometric protection may hinder some hackers, consumers still need to remain vigilant about identity theft protection. Minimize your risk of exposure, monitor credit scores attentively, and manage any damage.

Minimizing risk can include strategies such as using a password manager that encrypts information and allows for the convenient use of long, complicated and secure passwords. As increasing number of transactions are now made from mobile devices, having secure passwords is growing in importance. Changing passwords often is also a good strategy, made easier with an effective password manager.

Monitoring is arguably even more important that risk reduction strategies, as consumers can often gain a false sense of security. Of course, constantly monitoring credit scores is not always possible or convenient. Busy schedules may mean weeks or even months go by between credit score checks. However, as new risks emerge, it grows more crucial to regularly monitor your credit and investigate any questionable activity. Enrolling in a credit monitoring service helps busy consumers enjoy greater peace of mind.

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