Security & Fraud

Alabama Tests Selfie Authentication To Fight Tax Fraud

Identity company MorphoTrust USA looks to put a dent in tax fraud and theft by adding an additional layer of authentication security into the mix.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Alabama Department of Revenue (ADR). MorphoTrust and ADR will launch a pilot program that leverages MorphoTrust’s electronic ID (eID), testing the digital identity credential for residents filing state tax refunds during the 2016 season.

“Now more than ever,” said Bob Eckel, president and CEO of MorphoTrust USA, “there is a critical need to create a highly secure online environment using our innovative technology to ensure residents using the MorphoTrust eID can protect their identity and reduce their chance of being a victim of state tax refund theft.”

MorphoTrust’s eID works via mobile app. Users register to receive a credential and verify their identity with a photo of their driver’s license and by taking a selfie. The app compares this information against the driver’s license database record. If it’s a match, the user obtains the credential and is able to prove their identity online.

“By implementing state-of-the-art technologies, like the MorphoTrust eID, the state of Alabama continues to demonstrate that it is doing everything possible to protect our taxpayers from anyone looking to steal their information and use it to file fraudulent state tax returns,” said Julie P. Magee, commissioner of the ADR.

The shift toward stronger authentication comes as tax season increasingly becomes the biggest holiday of the year for fraudsters.

Recently, for instance, experts found a scammer selling 3,600 Florida W-2 forms on the dark web after phishing a tax preparation firm. Likewise, IBM’s commercial security research team checked its spam traps and discovered an over 6,000 percent increase in the number of common tax scam emails from December 2016 to February 2017.


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.

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