Criminals worldwide are using the Covid-19 pandemic to scam unsuspecting people. Anti-scam campaigns are being promoted by authorities and governments and people have been advised to be alert and report any suspicious cases. The Austrian government, meanwhile, is taking a different approach to dealing with fake news, health data, and fraud prevention. The Government has granted $67,600 to an initiative called QualiSig through the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs. The initiative will exploit aspects of Austria’s digital identity system to design three prototypes of COVID-19 apps. These three prototypes will enable the government to curb fraud and scams.
Fraud Prevention During Pandemics
Fraud Goes Viral, according to a Forbes article; a UK-based association for fraud prevention warned individuals of a growing amount of schemes where criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic. The article mentioned phone calls, the internet, text messages, and direct door-to-door visits as some of the means fraudsters use to get data, cash or initiate identity theft.
Therefore, QualiSig will study all these approaches and attempt to design a system that will perform identity verification ensuring that Covid-19 door-to-door testers will not fall prey to fraudsters. The initiative has already begun, and three application prototypes are being tested.
The prototypes will, in fact, request that testing agents display a unique QR code.Using a mobile application, a person being tested scans the QR code and the application directs them to a page for verification. The verification page reveals the tester ‘s identity and highlights their responsibilities. The page will also reveal a public authority digital signature and maybe some more signatures from a government health agency or the Red Cross.
That being said, the applications will only be live after eight months. Alexander Pfeiffer, one of the developers says; app applications are boundless and not limited to the Covid-19 cause alone.