Jumio, the provider of automated, end-to-end identity proofing, risk assessment and compliance solutions, has released the second instalment of its annual global consumer research. This year’s results highlight an understanding among consumers of how generative AI and deepfake technologies could accelerate identity fraud. While consumers appreciate the need for tech protection, the study also found they overestimate their abilities to spot deepfakes, which can render them even more vulnerable to attack.
The study, titled Jumio 2023 Online Identity Study and conducted by Censuswide, examined 8,055 adult consumers split evenly across the United Kingdom, United States, Singapore and Mexico. Over two-thirds (67 per cent) say they are aware of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, DALL-E and Lensa AI. All of which can produce fabricated content, including videos, images and audio. Awareness was highest among consumers in Singapore (87 per cent) and lowest among those in the UK (56 per cent).
An underestimation of the sophistication of the technologies
Awareness of generative AI and deepfakes among consumers is high — 52 per cent of respondents believe they could detect a deepfake video. This sentiment reflects over-confidence on the part of consumers. Especially given the reality that deepfakes have reached a level of sophistication that prevents detection by the naked eye.
This is concerning given that recent figures from UK Finance, for example, found that impersonation scams cost the UK £177million in 2022. The research specifically highlighted how scams becoming harder to spot as warning signs have been driving this trend. For example, typos or fake-looking websites are less prevalent due to the use of generative AI tools.
Jumio data also shows a steady uptick in the use of increasingly sophisticated deepfakes across the globe and across industries. There is a notable presence in the payments and crypto sectors.
“A lot of people seem to think they can spot a deepfake. While there are certainly tell-tale signs to look for, deepfakes are getting exponentially better all the time and are becoming increasingly difficult to detect without the aid of AI,” said Stuart Wells, Jumio’s chief technology officer.
“While AI-powered technology will increasingly be required by businesses to spot and protect their networks and customers from deepfakes, consumers can protect themselves by treating provocative images, videos and audio with skepticism. Some quick research will usually uncover whether it’s a fake or not.”
Awareness shifts to understanding of potential harmful use
As consumers become more aware of these technologies, there is also an emerging understanding of how they could be used to fuel identity theft. Over half (57 per cent) believe that online identity theft will become easier as a result, and consumers in Singapore showed the highest level of understanding of their potential harmful use (73 per cent). These levels decrease among consumers in Mexico (62 per cent), the US (49 per cent) and the UK (43 per cent).
The onus is on businesses to educate and better protect
“Organisations have a duty to educate their customers on the nuances of generative AI technologies to help them develop more realistic expectations of their ability to detect deepfakes,” said Philipp Pointner, Jumio’s chief of digital identity. “At the same time, even the best education will never be able to completely stop a fraudster’s use of evolving technologies.
“Online organisations must look to implement multimodal, biometric-based verification systems that can detect deepfakes. They must also prevent stolen personal information from being used. Encouragingly, our research indicated a strong consumer appetite for this form of identity verification. Consequently, businesses should act fast.”
The survey found that over two-thirds (68 per cent) of consumers are open to using a digital identity to verify themselves online. The top sectors where they would prefer a digital identity over a physical ID (like a driver’s license or passport) are financial services (43 per cent), government (38 per cent) and healthcare (35 per cent).