Who are who and how can you prove it? Seems like an easy question, yet in the digital environments where we work and live, this is no longer such a straightforward matter. Each individual is identified not only by a name, authoritative source (such as a Social Security Number, Passport, or Driver’s License), address, phone number, and other data points. We each also are characterized by additional information that taken as a whole, defines us individually from others who have similar backgrounds and biographic profiles. From one’s alma mater to a credit report to the last utility bill, organizations are aggregating more data about us individually and collectively.
The ability to prove individual identity is particularly relevant to those in the U.S. Government who manage hundreds of benefit, grant, and financial assistance programs. As summarized on Benefits.gov, these programs exist for everything from disaster relief, to education and training, to tax assistance, to healthcare and nutrition and much more. Each is designed to make benefits available to specific groups of citizens and businesses and to do this, the responsible agencies must be able to rely on trusted and verified identities of beneficiaries to ensure that only those eligible receive designated public funds and resources.
Yet given the number of benefits, amount of funding, and eligible population for these programs, how can agency professionals ensure that they are dealing with legitimate claims from authentic requestors? The answer is found in the expanding discipline of identity proofing. As the digital profile expands on individuals and businesses every day, these attributes enable the evaluation of personal information that cumulatively helps ensure applicants are who they assert to be and supports verification each meets the criteria for particular public benefits. In addition, this kind of aggregate data analysis can be used to detect and mitigate misuse of funds and systemic fraud with enhanced identity verification.
Exactly how do agencies conduct this kind of trusted identity proofing? Increasingly they rely on high-quality data and sophisticated analytical approaches, as have been used for years in the financial services and healthcare industries. By using person-related data over time, organizations are able to detect patterns and norms that can help agencies ensure the facts about an individual or business “add-up” and support verification of their legal identity.
Attendees learned how to incorporate trusted identity proofing into your agency services delivery and business processes. In partnership with Equifax, we explored best practices for trusted identity verification available today, and how diverse Federal agencies are leveraging this kind of information to improve operations, assist those they intend to reach, and prevent fraudulent use of public support.