Increasingly, it’s becoming a fact of life that you need to prove your identity. This is nothing new. For years, you’ve needed some type of ID to get a driver’s license or simply apply for a job. And now, the state of Texas is requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls to combat a culture of election fraud plaguing the state (according to supporters of the Texas law).
Unfortunately, there’s no parallel for the ID card in the online world. Your username and password just don’t cut it given today’s threat landscape and the always looming threat of identity theft. In the absence of a universal online ID card, a person’s phone is fast becoming a unique identifier. Leveraging this trend by establishing that a phone is an account holder’s unique identifier can help to validate a consumer’s online identity.
Consider these stats from IdentityTheft.info:
- Approximately 15 million United States residents have their identities used fraudulently each year with financial losses totaling upwards of $50 billion.
- About 7% of all adults have their identities misused with each instance resulting in approximately $3,500 in losses.
- Close to 100 million additional Americans have their personal identifying information placed at risk of identity theft each year when records maintained in government and corporate databases are lost or stolen.
So, if you sell anything online or simply need to parse out legitimate online users from potentially fraudulent ones, you have a fiduciary responsibility to demand some type of two-factor authentication (whether it be with TeleSign or even one of our competitors) to protect your business and your customers.
If you are an end user, even if you just use a Cloud-based email service, you should insist on this extra layer of security to protect your identity. And if you transact any business online and share your credit card info (who doesn’t?), two-factor authentication becomes all the more crucial to protect your identity, wallet and reputation.