From Credit Card Chips to 3-D Fingerprints, Researchers Continue to Fight Against Identity Theft


Identity theft is still an issue despite continued attempts to prevent it. Although it's recommended that a person shred their credit card statements after 45 days but much more will have to be done to fully prevent criminals from stealing identities.

Worse, despite banks and credit card companies releasing new technology to better protect users from fraud, this crime is still happening across the country in staggering numbers. According to WHIO, Maria O'Brien, who recently received her new credit card with the protective chip, has noticed strange activity coming from her account.

"They promoted that it's for security purposes that you should change your card for a chip, so I did it," said O'Brien. "I started seeing random purchases. There were purchases from North Carolina, places we haven't been."

Although the chips help prevent fraud, it's impossible to fully avoid fraud until the magnetic strips are removed from all credit cards. The retailers association believes that to completely convert to chip-card readers, not including the cost of credit card companies to convert, would be approximately $25 billion. Chip reads are roughly twice as much as traditional card readers, which is why only 40 to 50% of all retailers currently have the technology.

According to 3ders, Michigan researchers are using a different kind of technology to help fight identity theft.

Researchers from Michigan State University created a 3-D life-sized hand complete with five authentic fingerprints and looked for the potential to commit fraud using this strategy.

"This is the first time a whole hand 3-D target has been created to calibrate fingerprint scanners," said MSU professor Anil Jain. "As a byproduct of this research we realized a fake 3-D hand, essentially a spoof, with someone's fingerprints, could potentially allow a crook to steal the person's identity to break into a vault, contaminate a crime scene, or enter the country illegally."

More research has to be done, as this is the first of its kind, but Nicholas Paulter, who heads the Security Technologies Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, said that "the FBI, CIA, military, and manufacturers will all be interested in this project."

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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