According to Smile ID’s 2024 Digital Identity Fraud in Africa Report, Nigeria and Ghana are West Africa’s leading countries for identity fraud.
The leading identity verification startup in West Africa stated that most fraudulent documents were discovered due to failed security features, indicating a significant presence of counterfeit ID documents.
It was stated that the high frequency of counterfeits implies that fraudsters are looking for flaws in the design of identification documents.
The survey revealed that identity fraud is a rising problem across Africa, costing businesses millions of dollars each year.
It emphasized that as more financial transactions and trade move online, identity verification is critical to reducing fraud and criminal activity.
Although physical documents are less popular in Nigeria, a 63-page document found that Ghanaian ID documents are more likely to be fraudulent.
According to the report, the most commonly attacked ID documents in Nigeria are national IDs (0.1% volume, 18% fraud rate) and voter IDs (3% volume, 12% fraud rate).
The survey found that the Ghanaian Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) had the highest fraud attempt rate (20%).
It did, however, mention that the SSNIT is an outdated ID document that is being phased out in favor of the newer Ghana card, which has more improved security features and a reduced fraud rate.
According to the survey, four of the top five most attacked ID documents in East Africa are national IDs, with Kenya’s ID having the highest fraud rate in the area.
“There are various contributing factors, one of which is the continuous use of outdated National ID cards made of black and white paper images laminated in plastic. The implementation of the newer Huduma Namba cards has been hampered by a number of issues, beginning with legal challenges to how the data was obtained. The current Kenyan government has planned increased investment in and consolidation of existing ID systems by 2024,” it stated.
Smile ID further stated that the Nigerian National Identity Document is one of the most often targeted documents by fraudsters looking to clone IDs. Nigerian ID rated ninth in Africa among the countries surveyed.
According to the report, attacks against African countries’ national ID cards have increased over the last two years. It revealed that in 2023, South Africa’s National ID had the highest rate of fraud attempts (34%), ranking first.
Tanzania’s National ID was the second most attacked, with a 32% attempted fraud rate, while Kenya’s National ID ranked third at 26%. Nigeria ranked eighth, with an attempted fraud rate of 18%.
On fraud prevention, the research stated that while regulatory compliance is essential, it should only be viewed as a minimal need, and that businesses must go above and beyond regulatory standards to defend the integrity of their products.