It may come as no surprise to you that over the past few years’ fraud in online banking has increased dramatically. The Center for Strategic & International Studies has reported that cyber crime and the theft of intellectual property have cost the United States an estimated $100 billion every year (CSIS, 2017). Identity theft is at an all-time high; it seems like a constant battle to ensure that your identity is kept safe from cyber hackers and malware. However, in the Equipment Finance Industry, it’s not just cybercrime that we are combatting; it’s also physical theft of heavy machinery with the construction industry being one of the most heavily targeted. In 2014, the National Crime Bureau and National Equipment Register indicated that an estimated $300 million to $1 million is lost nationwide due to construction theft and law enforcement is likely to recover less than a quarter of the stolen property (NCB, 2015). It seems like between the two; it is an uphill battle to keep your identity and assets safe. However, there are new advances in biometric technologies that may help in the fight.

You may be familiar with biometrics by way of fingerprint scans and possibly even iris scans. Biometric fingerprint identification has become a favorite tool for many smartphone users; banks have even begun to utilize this method as an extra precaution for clients accessing their online bank accounts. This technology is an excellent way to help keep your account safe; however, to keep up with evolving risks, many financial institutes are starting to implement a more advanced technology. According to whatis.com, facial recognition is a biometric method of identifying an individual by comparing a live capture or digital image of them with their stored record for that person. This technology is quickly becoming the standard for the future of online security, and it’s not just financial institutes that are seeing the benefits of this technology. Just recently, the tech world has been buzzing with news that the Samsung 8 will feature biometric facial recognition instead of the, now seemingly dated, password and passcode screen lock. The Samsung 8 may be many users first experience with Biometric Facial Recognition, but they will likely go on to find it many other places; like ATMs and verifying online transactions.

With the advancing technology, new businesses are springing up all over the country. According to the Equipment Leasing & Financing Organization, 2017 is looking to be full of growth, especially in construction machinery investments (ELFO, 2017).  However, with the increase in new business, also comes an increased risk of equipment theft. Although there are avenues that companies can use to try and recover their stolen property, they still have to deal with the headache of replacing the equipment or experiencing downtime. Could biometrics be the key to preventing theft in the first place?

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles is currently using facial recognition to prevent identity theft and fraudsters. Since 2010, the state has stopped an estimated 14,000 people from obtaining multiple drivers’ licenses (Kravets, 2016). You might wonder how this technology could benefit the leasing and financing industry? Perhaps companies could use the same biometrics to create keys for their employees. Maybe someday a DMV biometric identification card could be used to operate leased and financed machinery; hypothetically, the engine on these pieces of equipment would not turn over unless an authorized user started it. There’s not only an opportunity for biometric technology to help prevent theft, but it could also increase the resale value of the equipment. The value could increase by using biometric recognition to ensure only qualified users were operating the vehicles could increase the residual value and potentially lower insurance rates as well.

Let’s face it; biometric facial recognition is a technology that goes far beyond the scope of enabling access to your smartphone, and we’re just starting to see the potential in biometric technologies.  How will it impact the equipment finance industry? Only time will tell.

Citations

2014 Equipment Theft Report [PDF]. (2015, October 1). Des Plaines: National Equipment Register National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Kravets, D. (2016, August 28). Enhanced DMV facial recognition technology helps NY nab 100 ID thieves. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/08/enhanced-dmv-facial-recognition-technology-helps-ny-nab-100-id-thieves/

Q2 2017 Equipment Leasing & Finance U.S. Economic Outlook (p. 1, Your Eye on the Future). (2017). Washington, D.C.: Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation

Whitehouse, S., Sen., McCaul, M. T., Rep., Evans, K., & Bhalorta, S. (2017). From Awareness to Action, A Cyber Security Agenda for the 45th President (p. 5, Publication). Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic & International Studies.

What is facial recognition? – Definition from WhatIs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved April 13, 2017, from http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/facial-recognition

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