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How Online Universities Take Fraudsters To School

DATE POSTED:June 11, 2019

Phone numbers, email addresses, usernames and other online signifiers have become vital to digital identity verification, as the world becomes increasingly connected. In fact, a recent study found that cell phone numbers were the fifth-most-important part of respondents’ identities, following Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, dates of birth and home addresses.

Though consumers have been taught to keep their physical IDs safe, a study by PYMNTS found that these practices have a long way to go in the digital space. When it comes to authentication, customers largely prioritize convenience over safety, exposing them to fraud, and putting pressure on merchants and financial institutions (FIs) to offer convenient user experiences without compromising security.

In the June Digital Identity Tracker™, PYMNTS explores the increasing importance of digital identity in the information age, and how consumers and providers are struggling to keep their identities secure.

Developments from around the Digital Identity World

Mobile wallets have become popular vehicles for storing and accessing credit card information, plane tickets and other documents. However, Google, for one, is looking to add government-issued IDs to the mix. Smartphones currently lack the encryption standards necessary to securely display official identification documents, a problem Google plans to solve in its Pixel and Android phones.

Another technology giant is leading the charge with blockchain. Microsoft recently announced the Identity Overlay Network (ION), a blockchain-based digital identity platform developed in conjunction with the Decentralized Identity Foundation. The network is a continuation of Microsoft’s other blockchain initiatives, including the Azure Blockchain Development Kit, released in May.

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is also taking a closer look at digital identities by requiring all visa applicants to submit social media usernames, email addresses and other digital IDs they have used in the past five years. The DOS justified the policy change in the name of security, but advocacy groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), have criticized the move as a breach of civil rights.

For more on these and other digital identity developments, download this month’s Tracker.

How Western Governors University handles Digital ID Verification

Online universities have become increasingly popular among nontraditional students who need convenient and flexible class schedules. However, these institutions face the challenge of verifying students’ identities when it comes to remote test-taking, without needless interruption.

For this month’s feature story, Maureen O’Brien, director of evaluation for Western Governors University, discussed how the online university verifies that its students are who they say they are, while providing a test-taking experience that’s as seamless as possible.

Find the feature story in the Tracker.

Deep Dive: Balancing Security and Convenience in Digital Identities

Tackling digital identity fraud is a constant struggle for both businesses and consumers. There are ample verification methods available, but they often come at the cost of usability, leading consumers to either skip authentication processes or find more convenient competitors. Therefore, it’s vitally important for corporations to provide secure, seamless authentication methods that protect their customers without pushing them away.

This month’s Deep Dive explores how businesses are striking this balance with tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition.

About the Tracker

The Digital Identity Tracker™, a Jumio collaboration, frames and addresses key issues facing digital identity players. It highlights news and trends pertaining to those tasked with efficiently and securely identifying — and granting permission to — individuals so they can access, purchase and transact.