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Report shows decline in biometric fraud attempts in Kenya

The most common attacks involve fraudsters providing fake or stolen ID numbers or altered documents

A finger print scanner

Smile Identity, a leading digital identity verification provider for Africa, has published its 2022 Know Your Customer (KYC) report, which provides an in-depth look into the current state of KYC trends, policies, and best practices across the continent.

According to the report, Kenya had a huge reduction in biometric fraud attempts, down from a peak in Q1 2022 to levels comparable with other markets such as Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

At the start of 2022, Kenya had a high prevalence of biometric fraud attempts with close to 30%, which decreased to below 10%.


Overall, most markets saw slightly lower biometric fraud rates in the second half of the year. This is likely due to fewer marketing promotions that trigger most fraud attempts.

The most common attacks involve fraudsters providing fake or stolen ID numbers or altered documents such as driver's licenses, passports, national IDs, and voter IDs. National ID numbers are particularly vulnerable as they are widely accessible and commonly used for onboarding.

The most common attempts of ID fraud observed include:

  • Invalid ID numbers, where users provide false information, such as a fake or mistyped ID number
  • Face mismatches, where a valid ID number is provided but facial biometrics do not match the ID.

In 2019, Kenya introduced the Data Protection Act. It is the main regulation governing the collection and processing of personal data in Kenya.

This act requires user consent for processing the personal data of Kenyans and aliens living in Kenya.

In addition, the Act requires any business collecting personal information to register as a data controller and anyone processing data to be a registered processor.

In November 2022, they announced that they will not allow citizens out or into the country with old passports.

The new e-passport is compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) international passport security standards, which require them to have a tamper-proof electronic chip containing the holder's information and travel history. This makes forging or duplicating them almost impossible.


President William Ruto’s administration is still interested in pursuing a digital identity system for Kenyans.

This will take the place of the previous administration's Huduma Namba project, which launched in 2019 but was stalled by legal challenges.


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