Can Biometrics Prevent Identity Theft?

Is it possible to prevent identity theft with biometrics? Learn the pros and cons

In the on-going war to prevent identity theft, scientists and financial wizards work constantly to develop different ideas, methods, and technologies to put an end to identity theft. The latest technology developed is biometrics. Is this 'the one' that will put an end to identity theft and enable everyone to breathe a collective sigh of relief?

Biometrics and Identity Theft

Biometrics is the scanning of your retina, fingerprints, or the vein pattern in the palms of your hands. Developers thought biometrics was the answer to preventing identity theft because there was nothing thieves could steal. Thieves can steal your credit card or PIN number, but not your retinal image, fingerprints, or vein pattern. Right?

Wrong. At first glance, biometrics seems to be the answer to prevent identity theft, but just as thieves can steal your credit card number or PIN number, they can also steal your biometric information. How? Biometric technology scans, reads, and converts your biological identifiers into a string of ones and zeros.

Just like thieves steal your credit card number, they can also steal the string of numbers that identify your fingerprints. Granted, it will take identity thieves time to get in gear and learn how to do this, but it is just a matter of time. In the future, instead of hearing news reports about credit card fraud, we will be hearing about fingerprint, retinal eye scan, and palm print thefts.

So, is biometrics a helpful technology that is going to put an end to identity theft? Not hardly. In fact, we may be worse off than ever. Think about this. If thieves steal your credit card number, social security number, or PIN number, you can have new numbers issued. What happens if someone steals your fingerprints? What if every government agency in the free world recognizes your fingerprints as belonging to a terrorist? Do you see the potential for major problems? The bottom line is biometrics may have its place. But the means to prevent identity theft and put an end to it? No. It could just be a new beginning.

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