A biometric identification system is paying big dividends for Ireland’s Department of Social Protection. As The Irish Times reports, the department says the technology has saved it €461,470 in welfare fraud costs.
The system was introduced in early 2015, and uses facial recognition to ensure that individuals aren’t collecting additional social protection benefits under false identities. Welfare recipients’ faces are scanned against the country’s Public Services Card databases to ensure there are no duplicates.
Already at the end of May in 2015, the department had caught more than 60 fraudsters using the technology, who collectively had already swindled an estimated €1 million from the system. Now, as of the end of January, the department has identified 155 cases of alleged fraud, including that of Adrian Vaduva, who alone had collected €280,000. Additional police personnel have been assigned to Department of Social Protection offices to help investigate these newly found cases.
The department’s use of facial recognition has produced other benefits, too: Last year, it was used to help clarify the identity of a refugee from Iraq, who had initially registered for a Public Services Card under a false identity out of fears that he was being hunted by individuals from his home country.
Source: The Irish Times
February 8, 2017 – by Alex Perala