Kenya Most Targeted in Africa by Biometric Fraudsters - Report

  • Technology keeps evolving over time.
    Technology keeps evolving over time.
  • A survey by Smile Identity - a leading technology company - has revealed that Kenya is the most targeted country in Africa by fraudsters using biometrics. The report stated that 21 per cent of the attacks resulted from data on the national Identification cards.

    In the four countries featured in the report, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, Kenya's biometric fraud cases almost doubled those in South Africa, which was in second place with 20 per cent of all the attacks recorded.

    Notably, the use of biometric features in unlocking phones using either facial recognition or fingerprints, and accessing office buildings with a fingerprint has increased the vulnerability of Kenyans.

    A photo of a Huduma Namba agent collecting biometric data of a citizen.
    A photo of a Huduma Namba agent collecting biometric data of a citizen.

    Interestingly, Smile Identity stated that fraudsters use photos and videos from social media to impersonate the original user. A biometric system then gives access to these fraudsters.

    An example of these photos include prints, photo from a device, and printed face masks. 

    The report identifies these spoofing attacks as sophisticated fraud attempts, adding that they are becoming more common by the day.

    Smile Identity stated that a motion liveness check is incorporated to capture such fraudsters. However, the team noted that some culprits have resulted in the use of videos to avoid the motion liveness check.

    Additionally, the report noted that at least 40 per cent of registered national ID cards lack an attached photo.

    This loophole is attractive to fraudsters who use such IDs for illegal purposes.

    “Of all the biometric fraud attempts caught in the first half of 2022, 48 per cent were cases where an ID was valid but the face did not match the ID owner,” the report stated.

    Though less unsophisticated compared to spoofing attacks, the use of stolen ID information is a common tactic by fraudsters.

    Fraudsters also duplicate accounts to get promotions and rewards from businesses more than once.

    A File Photo of National Identity Cards Replaced
    A file photo of uncollected National Identity Cards on a desk.
    stolen illegal