Feeds

DIY fingerprint idea thwarts ID thieves

Thumbs up

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

The Home Office is touting ID cards as a solution to ID theft in today's Queen's Speech but a Yorkshire man has taken matters into his own hands. Jamie Jameson, a civil servant from Scarborough in North Yorkshire, insists that credit can only be extended in his name on production of a thumbprint.

Jameson hit on the idea of writing to the UK's three main credit reference agencies - Equifax, Experian and Call Credit - and requesting that they put a 'Notice of Correction' on his file stating that a print must be offered with applications for loans or credit cards issued in his name. At the same time he submitted his fingerprint.

This Notice of Correction of the first thing a prospective lender will see when it calls up his records. Normally this facility provides a way for individuals to explain why they have a county court judgement against their name or other qualifications to their credit history. Jameson is using it to do a cheap security check.

Although uncommon in the UK, thumbprints are often used as an audit mechanism for people cashing cheques in US banks. A similar scheme was trialled in Wales. Jameson takes a little ink pad similar to that used in US banks around with him all the time just in case he might need it.

If an application for credit is accepted without a thumbprint - against Jameson's express instructions - then he will not be liable for losses. If a would-be fraudster gives a false print on an application then it makes it easier for them to be traced by the police. "Lenders don’t have to match prints. Using prints just establishes an audit trail if anything goes wrong," Jameson explained. "It's not so much me proving who I am as preventing someone else being me."

Jameson has been using the idea successfully for over a year. He concedes that the scheme isn't foolproof and that it's possible to fake fingerprints ("nothing’s perfect," as he puts it). As far as Jameson knows he's the only person who's using the technique in the UK. The scheme delays the issuing of credit, which could be a problem with people who apply for multiple accounts but this is a minor inconvenience for Jameson. "This is driven by the individual so there are no data protection issues. It's a real deterrent to ID theft," he told El Reg. ®

Related stories

World's largest ID theft felon faces 14 years' jail
Gov.uk launches anti-fraud website
ID cards to use 'key database' of personal info
Boffins test voice-activated secure credit card
Fingerprints as ID - good, bad, ugly?
Fraudsters prey on apathetic Brits
UK ID theft gang jailed for £350K fraud
Biometric sensors beaten senseless in tests
Gummi bears defeat fingerprint sensors

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.