Personal information, proofs of ID such as a passport or utility bill, and even sophisticated tracking software which pinpoints the location of mobile phones and internet users, must all be used in combination with the new biometric data available such as fingerprints, eye scans and voice recognition if the ID card is to have any real effect on ID fraud. (NOTE: The ID card already has the biometric within it.)

While the Government uses the latest figure that identity theft is costing the UK GBP1.7 billion a year – up GBP400 million in four years – to bolster its argument for the introduction of ID cards, GB believes that cards will only form part of the overall arsenal to tackle fraud.

Rob Laurence, managing director of GB’s DataAuthentication division, said: “ID cards are not going to be the solution to identity theft. They will form a valuable piece of the toolkit, but identity fraud is becoming far more sophisticated, and consequently the technologies for fighting it are evolving even faster.

“For a long time, businesses have insisted on checking identity against two factors – personal data such as name, address and date of birth and the production of documents such as a driving licence, credit card or utility bill.

“Now the latest generation of verification techniques is beginning to introduce a third level – technology such as biometrics, which link individual’s personal characteristics, such as voice data, to their address and credit card details.

“Additional levels of protection can also be built in to verify that a customer opening a new account is actually located exactly where they say they are. This can be done via global positioning satellites which pinpoint the location of a mobile phone, or trace the IP addresses of individual computers.”

Against this backdrop of new technology, GB believes that a national identity card will only form part of the solution and certainly won’t solve the ID theft problem on its own – as much of the Government publicity suggests.

Rob Laurence added: “The introduction of a national identity card is part of the evolutionary process as we try to tackle increasingly sophisticated criminals. Suggesting that it will solve the problem is naive – it will simply add another layer of identification data against which we can screen an individual’s profile.

“Verification techniques will continue to evolve and technology which allows us to overlay multiple sources of independent data will mean that fraudsters will find it harder and harder to use a false identity.”

In the past year, GB Group – which has developed an intelligent identity matching capability – ID3 – has successfully verified the identities of over 1 million people for some of the UK’s leading businesses.