Facial recognition technology helped ICBC resolve a number of fraud and identity theft cases in 2010.
British Columbia’s auto insurer first introduced facial recognition technology in 2008 and Fred Hess, vice president of driver licensing at ICBC says the organization is now at the forefront of identity protection.
The technology allows ICBC to compare a cardholder’s image with their existing image on file, as well as with a database of millions of images.
“Facial recognition technology is now enabling security checks that were not previously possible and helping to uncover fraud that would not have come to light without it,” said Ben Shotton, ICBC’s manager of driver licensing integrity. “It’s unlikely that any of these charges and convictions would have happened without facial recognition technology so it’s clear that it’s helping to protect our customers.”
“We invest approximately $8 million in fraud and investigate thousands of cases each year because we’re dedicated to protecting our customers against fraudulent acts,” said Shotton.
ICBC points to five cases that highlight how facial recognition technology has helped fight fraud:
- Kelowna: A woman attended the local driver licensing centre and took a road test in the name of her sister. Facial recognition technology matched her image to her own driver’s licence and we learned she had actually been prohibited from driving. Several months earlier, she was convicted of driving while prohibited and sentenced to 14 days in jail, a $500 fine, one year’s prohibition from driving and one year’s probation.
- Nanaimo: We discovered that the photo of a Nanaimo resident was attached to two different driver’s licences. Our investigation discovered that one of the identities used to obtain a B.C. driver’s licence, register and insure several vehicles, was in fact deceased. This led to the man’s arrest for ‘personation with intent’ and several further admissions from him. We learned that he had obtained the fraudulent licence to avoid his criminal history and the restrictions of his parole, and that he had debt with ICBC which prevented him from obtaining a licence in his own name. He pled guilty in December and was fined $5,000.
- Surrey: A Surrey resident applied for a new B.C. driver’s licence in Richmond under the identity of another man, which was discovered through our use of facial recognition technology. In working with a federal agency, it became apparent that the gentleman was an illegal immigrant in Canada who had previously been deported due to organized criminal activity. Our discovery led to his arrest and his deportation in December.
- Penticton: A Penticton man was ordered to pay more than $13,000 in restitution and received a one-year conditional sentence and one-year of probation for obtaining a B.C. driver’s licence in the identity of someone who had died at the age of five, back in 1969. The fraud went uncovered for 15 years before our facial recognition technology caught him. His motive was to avoid the consequences of having a criminal record in his own identity and to collect income assistance while working and collecting employment insurance as the deceased.
- North Vancouver: A man was caught in North Vancouver with a B.C. driver’s licence in the name of another person, which he had used to register and insure vehicles while being prohibited from driving and owing debt to ICBC. To make matters worse, he had renewed the licence four times and had more than one at-fault claim while impersonating the other driver. He was punished with thousands of dollars in fines and victim impact surcharges.