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State government pension programs are designed to provide financial security and stability to retired public employees, ensuring they receive a fair and well-deserved income during their post-employment years. However, beneath the surface of these seemingly noble initiatives, a growing concern has emerged – the prevalence of fraud within state government pension programs. This issue poses a significant threat to the financial health of these programs and, ultimately, the retirees who depend on them.

As state government pension programs transition into the digital era, the conveniences of technology bring with them a new and alarming challenge – the prevalence of digital identity fraud. According to the FBI, elder fraud cases, which include pension fraud, increased by 84% in 2022, with total losses valued in the tens of billions of dollars. Pensions are particularly vulnerable to fraud and the impacts on retiree quality of life can be severe.

With pension systems storing sensitive personal and financial information online, the risk of exploitation by cybercriminals has become a growing concern. Governments must act as there is an imperative need for enhanced identity verification measures to safeguard the financial well-being of retirees.

Preemptive identity verification acts as the first line of defense, ensuring that benefits reach their rightful recipients and are not diverted to fraudulent recipients. This not only protects the substantial investments into these programs but also preserves public trust and the financial security of those who rely on these essential services.

But it isn’t just as simple as understanding if beneficiaries are who they say they are. Another key aspect at the heart of preventing these types of losses is the critical task of verifying the death status of pension recipients. Socure is leading the charge with advanced digital identity verification technology, ensuring pensions are only paid to living annuitants.

The challenge is non-trivial; pension funds globally are vast and complex, making them attractive targets for fraudsters. One key aspect of their vulnerability lies in the lack of timely updating of beneficiary death records. Delays or inaccuracies in this data can result in significant financial loss and can be exploited by criminals.

Socure’s AI and machine learning-powered solutions provide a robust defense by accurately cross-referencing personal information in real-time against extensive data sources. This includes not just traditional death records, but also non-traditional data like online behavior and biometric markers, verifying identities before transactions are approved. This offers pension operators a proactive, comprehensive approach to detecting and preventing fraud.

The impact of Socure’s technology on pension fraud prevention is profound:

  • 98% auto-approval rates for legitimate transactions.
  • A dramatic reduction in false positives and manual reviews.
  • A substantial decrease in identity fraud.

As state government pension programs embrace the digital age, the specter of digital identity fraud looms large. It is imperative for policymakers and government leaders to collaborate in fortifying these systems against evolving cyber threats.

Socure’s identity verification tools are crucial for this task, safeguarding retirement funds and ensuring they serve their rightful purpose – supporting the living retirees.

By implementing advanced security measures, raising awareness, and fostering a culture of cyber resilience, we can ensure that retirees’ financial well-being is protected and that state government pension programs remain trustworthy pillars of support for those who have dedicated their careers to public service.

Download our insight brief, Protecting Pensions from Fraud with Next-Gen Identity Verification, to learn more about how Socure is supporting State governments with this challenge.

Matthew Thompson

Matthew Thompson, CISSP, is an industry-recognized thought leader in the area of Identity and Security Management and currently serves as SVP & GM for public sector solutions at Socure. Matt is an innovator in the digital identity space, having co-founded, which was named to the “100 Brilliant Companies” list in 2014 by Entrepreneur Magazine. Matt has spent years working in the public and private sectors to promote privacy-enhancing, secure, interoperable, and user-friendly ways to give individuals and organizations confidence in their online interactions, which garnered him recognition by One World Identity as one of the “Top 100 Leaders in Identity” in 2017 and 2018.