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Facial Recognition Technology for Better Student Services: Identity Fraud Rampant in Academic Institutions

Facial Recognition Technology for Better Student Services: Identity Fraud Rampant in Academic Institutions

Author: teresa_myers | 30 May 2024

Beijing Normal University, one of the top universities in China, has introduced facial recognition in a female dormitory to keep out strangers. Facial recognition technology is increasingly common in China and is extensively used in many services including financial institutions, healthcare, public services, law enforcement, transportation, Education, and retail. 

Identity fraud has become an alarming concern in academic institutes, especially in the United States, where imposters hack or deceptively obtain students’ identities to gain scholarships, enrollments, and other educational services. In some potential cases, imposters with unethical intentions use fake identities to apply for student loans, and financial aid in the disguise of deserving students. 

Hidden Threats to Students: From Fake Enrollments to Embezzled Scholarships 

In recent years, identity theft has become an increasingly distressing concern for educational institutes, especially for foreign exchange student programs, where imposters effortlessly use fake identities, evade student identification systems, and exploit student services for personal gains. The alarming rise of identity fraud not only impacts the financial well-being of students but also torments the psychological state of the victims. 

1. Fake Enrollments 

Enrollment fraud has become a real-life nightmare for academic institutes and students. Research by the State Chancellor’s Office of California reveals that fake enrollment emerges as a distressing challenge in community colleges, with nearly 20%of applications reaching 46,000 being submitted by counterfeit identities. A criminal justice instructor at L.A. Pierce College disclosed that a drastic drop was noticed in spring enrollments after removing fake identities. The count substantially dropped from 7,658 to 4,937 making 35% of ghost applications, indicating how effortlessly imposters employ students’ identities deceptively to gain access to student services.   

2. Scholarship Fraud 

Bad actors are continually finding ways to fulfill their illicit maneuvers, and with the rise in advancements in artificial intelligence, it has become extravagant for imposters to accomplish their objectives. Prevailing scholarship fraud is posing significant challenges for the educational administration, making it arduous for them to authenticate genuine students and figure out who the deserving students are. 

3. Student Loan Fraud 

Americans lose billions of dollars each year in student loan scams, the amount lost in this particular scam reportedly mounted to nearly $5 billion in 2022. It is estimated that every two seconds, there is a victim of identity fraud, experiencing potential financial and psychological consequences. Imposters use stolen or hacked identities to apply for student loans and acquire services designated for certain students. This deceptive activity ruins the victims’ credit scores, and students’ legitimate loans are being denied. 

4. Exploitation of Legal Guardianships 

A study by ProPublica and the Wall Street Journal discloses that many affluent parents in Chicago suburbs and dozens of people globally put their children in shame legal guardianships to avail of financial aid. The students were declared independent by presenting themselves as low-income students. Under false preferences, these imposters acquire financial aid, rerouting resources from genuinely deserving students, badly impacting low-income students.  

Read More: Liveness Detection A Key To Anti-Spoofing For Identity Verification

Facial Recognition in Education: New Frontier in Accurate Student Identification 

There’s a rising interest in navigating the implementation of advanced automated facial recognition in schools to ensure accurate and precise identification of students, facilitate biometric attendance, and safeguard the integrity of student data privacy. In the 1960s, the first efforts were made to develop automated technology to verify identities based on physiological characters, including fingerprints and facial features, ensuring accurate authentication. Facial recognition has discovered applications in various industries globally, and it is now finding exciting opportunities in academic institutes. 

Let’s briefly explore how face recognition technology improves student user experience and keeps out fake identities. 

Attendance Tracking: Transforming Students’ Check-Ins 

Attendance tracking is a time-consuming manual process for schools, colleges, and universities, consuming a lot of time for both students and administrators. However, advanced face recognition software deployed in academic institutions can considerably make attendance management efficient by eliminating the need to maintain sign-in sheets and manual roll-outs, saving both time and energy. Deploying robust facial recognition software at entry points makes it seamless for students to authenticate themselves based on their facial features and improves the check-in process. Upon every check-in, students scan their faces, the faces are compared against the available dataset of identities to confirm the authenticity of the claimed identity. 

Guardian for Campus: Strengthening Security Measures 

Imposters are everywhere, and they explore every avenue to accomplish their illicit maneuvers. They even attempt to torment education systems by gaining unauthorized access to premises to conduct criminal activities or using fake student IDs to avail services or privileges. Facial authentication technology enhances the security of institutional property by ensuring secure entry systems. The technology enables real-time alerts and flags suspicious individuals by analyzing the faces of every student entering educational premises. 

Breaking Barriers: Enhancing Accessibility & Inclusivity 

Furthermore, biometric attendance improves students’ experience and makes it simpler for instructors to maintain student performance and engagement in class activities. Most important of all, students with disabilities or special needs can get themselves authenticated and get access to buildings or digital resources without presenting physical identity cards, offering contactless authentication. Additionally, facial recognition software trained on diverse datasets enhances inclusivity, equally verifying students from varying demographic groups.  

10 Essential Tips for Students to Counteract Identity Fraud 

The alarming rise of identity fraud is imposing serious consequences on students whose identities are being exploited for malicious purposes. Students are suggested to stay cautious and informed about the latest trends in ID fraud and implement robust preventive measures to safeguard their information. 

Read More: Comparing Face Verification vs Face Recognition vs Face Identification

The featured infographics shed light on the tips students can adopt to counteract the rising threats of ID fraud.
  • Limit the oversharing of personal information on digital platforms, as imposters leave no stone unturned to get their hands on sensitive information. Reducing digital footprints can keep you secure against ID theft. 
  • Secure online accounts by using strong & unique passwords, making it challenging for cybercriminals with unethical intentions to spoof or replicate passwords. 
  • Don’t carry personal documents unnecessarily and shred documents completely before discarding them. 
  • Be aware of unsolicited requests and confirm the legitimacy of the resource before sharing information. 
  • Regularly evaluate credit card statements and look for inconsistencies or irregularities to spot suspicious transactions or activities.

Effective Preventive Strategies: How Can Institutions Safeguard Students from Imposters? 

The rising threats of fake student identities in academia prompt institutions to deploy robust authentication technology in their enrollment systems, application processes, and checkpoints to authenticate genuine individuals effectively. Advanced face recognition software integrated with sophisticated AI algorithms and machine learning makes it effortless to verify the identity of students, keeping out fabricated or fake identities. 

  • A culture of transparency is essential to build trust and confidence in students by ensuring that their biometric data is safeguarded against data breaches and employed for their security. Best-fit technology like facial recognition comes forth as an epitome of security, offering personalized student experience, enhancing campus security by spotting unauthorized presences, and spotting fake identities during the onboarding process. Detection of fake student IDs during onboarding reduces the chances of identity fraud in student loans, scholarships, and legal guardianships. 
  • Educational institutes can potentially reduce the exploitation of students’ services by imposters, by continuously monitoring regular audits of students to spot any inconsistency irregularities leading to the detection of fake identities.
  • Train staff and educate students to stay cautious and promptly detect inconsistencies or anomalies to stay ahead of the curve. 

Enhance the security of educational premises and actively spot fake student identities with cutting-edge AI-powered facial recognition solutions, having the ability to spot fake identities. Facia employs bimetric liveness detection to actively determine the liveness of the claimed identity in less than a second, keeping fake students from accessing services or privileges. With a 0% false acceptance rate (FAR) & <1% false rejection rate (FRR), genuine individuals are accurately authenticated, and fake identities are warded off, enhancing the overall security of educational premises and safeguarding student information.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How can facial recognition improve student services?

Facial recognition can improve student services by enabling automated attendance tracking saving time for both students and instructors, enhancing data security, and offering accessibility & inclusivity.

What happens if the facial recognition system misidentifies a student?

Student misidentification could potentially lead to denial of services to deserving students, wrongful security alerts, and inaccurate attendance records, raising a sense of stress and inconvenience.

What are the privacy concerns associated with facial recognition for students?

The major privacy concerns regarding the use of facial recognition for students include risks of data breaches, continuous surveillance, processing biometric data without consent, misuse for purposes beyond initial intentions, and biased results.