The Challenges of Identity Proofing Within the Government

This blog post is an excerpt from our recent online training course created in partnership with LexisNexis. To take full the course, head here.

Government leaders have prioritized addressing improper payments and citizen safety in government programs for decades, but now the importance has shifted to balancing fraud protection efforts while enhancing customer experience. From one administration to the next, addressing both of these issues has been highlighted as essential to achieving government program goals, rebuilding citizen and consumer trust, and improving overall efficiencies.

Despite its best efforts, government agencies are facing ever-evolving fraudsters and expanding fraud networks. Fraud has continued to plague benefit services due to its low-risk, high-reward nature and relative ease with which it can be perpetrated. Tight budgets can be prohibitive as far as agency responsiveness to this challenge.

Additionally, the ‘right’ kind of tools may not have been implemented. Inherent challenges with ‘typical’ identity fraud tools generally lack sufficient understanding of the identities, are intrusive, and produce an unmanageable amount of false failures all-the-while not preventing the fraudsters.

Finally, government’s attempt to improve customer experience for consumers further complicates the matter. Omni-channel service delivery, which means delivering services on a number of different platforms, has seen growth as agencies strive to meet their customers where they are. Though it improves the interaction, it also makes fraud prevention more difficult.

Identity fraud can be particularly difficult to manage. A consumer’s physical or digital identity can be used for employment fraud, benefits fraud, tax return fraud, and more. Along with the negative effects that fraud can have on the immediate victim, taxpayer dollars go to waste and government programs see diminished results. Unfortunately, there is a natural assumption of identity fraud as a cost of doing business.

But while trying to combat identity fraud, just as with omni-channel services, many agencies face the challenge of weighing risk-tolerance against customer experience. Agencies need to make sure that they keep consumer identities safe, without inconveniencing customers.

For example, when establishing or signing in to an account on a government website, citizens and consumers may be asked to demonstrate proof of identity. This can be done in a number of ways, but the methods need to be balanced to ensure that the level of security doesn’t encroach on the customer experience. Frequent and obtrusive step-up challenges to enhance security can frustrate citizens, so in addition to the challenges above, agencies also need to work to step-up security while keeping the user experience seamless, frictionless and less-intrusive.

That’s why government agencies need to move toward a multi-layered, corroborative approach to fraud, providing the best of defense, hospitality, and ease of use.

Take the full course to learn why government agencies need to move toward a multi-layered, corroborative approach to fraud, in order to provide the best of defense, hospitality, and ease of use.

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