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Is your pensioner still alive?

In the 1970s in a consultancy project for the clearing banks on the implications of moving the UK from weekly payroll and pension payments to monthly payments, I met with the UK government’s Work and Pensions Department many times. They had many examples of the difficulties of knowing when to stop pension payments, i.e. they could not be told that the pensioner had died for many years. So they had introduced a new part of their annual pension return form, a fingerprint imprint to ensure that the pensioner was still alive. This new feature is worked well mostly, but there were the odd example where things were suspicious. 

A senior civil servant had retired back to a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas. But when Mr XX got to a suspiciously old age, the British Embassy sent their Consul from New Delhi to see whether he was still alive. As the Consul arrived at the village he noticed how well kept and much more wealthy the village was than the surrounding villages. When he got out of the embassy car, he was welcomed by the village elder, He asked is, “Mr XX around?” The village elder bowed, and said, “Yes, he’s here,” and held up a jar with the finger in embalming fluid.

Today’s new technologies

In today Internet driven world, it is vital that we know who we are talking to/interacting with because we just don’t know who is on the other end of the Internet, as Peter Steiner brilliant cartoon in 1993 for The New Yorker showed:

For identifying people, voice recognition technology has moved centre stage, as it has now developed to the stage where companies and government departments can be sure - very sure if they carryout the full registration - of who is at the end of the line. 

In the UK today, voice recognition is being used by the HMRC, the tax authorities, which now requires the applicant to register, to be sure that the caller is who they say they are. BUT initially the HMRC used it without telling the tax holders. Voice recognition has considerable GDPR implications, extreme care is required when employing this technology.

In today’s Internet driven world, pension schemes have to identify who is really there AND whether they are alive, voice recognition has become a viable technology. It is no surprise that Volante Technologies have incorporated voice recognition technology in their Self Service Portal in their VolPay Channel suite for banks and corporates, see.

Alternatively pension schemes could use scanning blood flow in a finger, e.g. Barclays Biometric Readers to both identify who the person at the end of the line is AND whether they really are alive:

Source & Copyright©2018 - Barclays

CTMfile take: Sad, but true - when will we see technologies to get round voice recognition and blood flow scanning?

This item appears in the following sections:
Fraud Prevention
ID Systems & Services in Fraud Prevention
Minimizing Fraud Procedures

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