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Authentication: A key step in preventing and mitigating fraud

The continued shift to digital channels for many everyday consumer, business and financial functions has attracted criminals who seek to profit from the expanded attack surface of more devices, platforms and payment options. Authentication verifies that individuals are authorized to access a platform or system, including their phones, computers, email accounts, online banking services and investment accounts. As a result, authentication is a key step in preventing and identifying fraud attempts, whether online or in person.

As part of its work to advance payment security and support fraud mitigation efforts in the industry, the Federal Reserve is publishing a series of articles on authentication and its critical role in payments. The first article outlines methods of identity verification and authentication, while the second article highlights how fraudsters can bypass or exploit authentication gaps – for example, by using stolen passwords to gain access to an account without the legitimate account owner’s consent.

A third article will focus on evolving authentication methods to strengthen fraud mitigation, both at account login and when an attempted transaction is suspected to be fraudulent.

While there is no silver bullet to stop all fraud types, the industry can help foster a safer financial environment by continuing to build awareness and advocacy for advancing authentication methods as new payments products and channels are introduced.