Smile ID Unveils Groundbreaking Report on Rising Identity Fraud in Africa

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Today, Smile ID announced its 100,000,000th identity verification and Africa’s first-ever analysis and report on Identity Fraud across Africa.

24th January 2024 — A new landmark report by Smile ID, Africa’s premier identity verification service, reveals a significant uptick in identity fraud across the continent.

Utilising anonymised data from over 100 million identity checks, Smile ID, Africa’s premier identity verification service, released its 2024 Digital Identity Fraud in Africa report. The report reveals a consistent year-on-year increase in fraudulent attempts over the past four years.

In addition, Smile ID’s new Digital Identity Fraud in Africa Report highlights that document and biometric fraud reached their highest rates on record in the last quarter of 2023. The costs of this fraud fall heavily on businesses and undermine user trust in digital services.

While greater connectivity has connected Africans like never before, it has also exposed more people and systems to criminal exploitation. As the report warns, without action, identity fraud may jeopardise Africa’s digital future and economy.

The Digital Identity Fraud in Africa Report explores the prevalent methods fraudsters use, their behaviours, and regional and industry trends. It also provides crucial insight into how businesses can best combat fraud across the continent. It is Smile ID’s first identity fraud report, marking a strategic shift from the biannual State of KYC report that the company has published since 2022.

The report, the first of its kind in Africa, has been heralded as a critical step in combating fraud on the continent. Regarding the report’s potential impact, Mark Straub, CEO of Smile ID, said, “Preventing identity fraud is key to mitigating the financial fraud that affects businesses. Our unique vantage point in the African digital ecosystem has allowed us to offer insight into how to do that. The insights provided in our report are invaluable in understanding the patterns and methodologies of fraudsters, which can greatly aid in implementing more effective fraud prevention protocols during onboarding and high-value events.”

Other topics highlighted in the report include 

  • The prevalence of fraud with National IDs, 
  • Regional fraud trends, 
  • Industry-specific insights, 
  • Building a comprehensive anti-fraud system
  • The growing threat of artificial intelligence to identity verification, 
  • Future developments in fraud prevention 

Here are some of the interesting takeaways from the report: 

  • The last four years have seen a consistent increase in fraud rates across Africa
  • The average Document and Biometric fraud rate has increased for six consecutive quarters since Q2 2022.
  • Fraudsters are evolving towards biometric fraud, with rates reaching a record-high 13% in Q4 2023.
  • 80% of ID fraud attacks are concentrated on national identity documents, making them the most exploited ID type.

And lots more.

Download the fraud report here. 

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