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What is Online Verification
Online Verification is when an individual presents personal information to identify who they are. The verification of an individual’s name, identity and existence has long been a requirement of complex human societies, especially when concerning the transaction of goods and services.
Today, various forms of identity verification methods are used to authenticate and prove identity, seamlessly blurring the lines between identity as an instrument to verify and as a way to prove “liveness”, ensuring the person who is authenticating their identity is actually a real person and not a fraudulent actor.
Online identity for digital transactions
Whether it takes place within an e-commerce framework or for the purposes of furthering social equality through governmental redistribution, the accurate verification and authentication of an individual’s identity in the digital world is crucial to the functioning of society and the successful application of several different industries ranging from the sharing economy to gaming and banking businesses.
Prior to the advent of our modern communication channels (esp. the internet), transactions were often face-to-face, involved eye contact and usually concluded with a handshake. In this way, the parties involved could ascertain whether or not the other party was acting honestly and whether or not they were who they said they were. Though not totally free from fraud, meeting in-person offered a level of authentication that was and still is hard to beat.
However, a great deal of transacting now takes place online – a tendency which has been greatly amplified by the ongoing Corona pandemic. Thus, the verification of one’s identity (built around the standards of liveness) is of growing importance as more industries take their services online.
To verify if a user is actually who they say they are, real life identity verification for online applications employ a great deal of automation as well as data analytics to implement identity theft protection methods.
Here’s a list of some of the most successful and commonly used verification methods:
Biometric authentication through face verification and liveness detection
The use of biometric features for authentication involves the use of unique biological characteristics to verify end-users. Presenting face, fingerprint, iris, voice or other behavioural metrics to ensure their live presence is a highly convenient and secure way to authorise login. As use cases spread to a large number of consumer services including healthcare, travel, and retail, customers are looking for identity solutions that can easily be integrated into smartphones. Cost effective solutions such as taking a simple selfie or presenting a card to a camera are being accepted by large digital audiences.
Through cross device authentication services, customers can use a hand-held device to capture a video or a selfie and confirm their presence. An automated procedure fast-tracks the process and authenticates account holders with high accuracy. Advanced Identity verification applications powered by machine learning are also recording verification processes in real-time and storing the data in the form of timestamps, videos, IP location and device information.
Digital verification methods can replace manual checking of customer documents to prevent online theft and ID fraud. The more customer attributes that can be verified through a given ID source, the more robust the authentication. The end goal is to achieve a high level of verification assurance across multiple systems and countries.
Customers can scan ID documents in front of a webcam and allow verification APIs to extract and screen key customer credentials. In most cases, the use of optical character recognition technology (OCR) assists in providing verifications for several documents in different languages.
Document validation includes checking:
The authenticity of individuals and businesses can be verified in real-time using automated software that cross-checks addresses with official databases. Users are asked to upload photos while holding identity documents in order to match their face. Secondary documents containing official address are uploaded to verify the information entered by the user. Analysis is done via an API and the verification is also recorded.
For e-commerce and other retail business, this translates into better management of chargeback fraud and improved reputation. Mailing costs associated with returned mail can be mitigated and high-quality address data maintained for faster delivery time. Identity documents such as national IDs, utility bills, bank statements, and driver’s license, are verified for authenticity, to improve customer risk profiling and online identity fraud management.
Businesses must ensure a high level of safety by vetting both individual customers as well as businesses before beginning transactions. International regulations now require that sources that may be involved in money laundering and terrorist financing be actively avoided and screened before onboarding.
Detailed background checks and sanction list monitoring for high-risk clients is a given for AML compliance programs. Simply entering the name and date of birth can reveal useful information about authenticity. Data on customers and businesses must be screened against international regulatory watchlists, sanction lists and PEP lists to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Risk reporting and global compliance is made easier with AML solutions for fraud prevention.
Ongoing AML monitoring is an essential part of process, as regular monitoring of clients assures that no illegal activity is recorded in recurring transactions. This is to ensure that client credibility is maintained over time and high-risk clients are marked with an ‘on-alert’ status.
Companies can be validated using a registration number in order to identify blacklisted entities. Background checks of the Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) can help in identifying individuals with a suspicious profile. As a long-term business goal, financial risk assessment is improved by limiting compliance fines and penalties leading to unanticipated financial loss.
Knowledge based authentication
This method of online identification requires customers to protect sensitive information with security questions that can be answered using personally identifiable information.
It is an easy process to employ since it doesn’t contain complex passwords or codes to remember. However, it is also easier to breach since such information can be guessed, discovered or sold. There’s no verification with official customer IDs either.
As an added layer of security, 2FA solidifies account protection by double checking the possession of sensitive information by clients. A physical token or a numerical SMS code must be immediately available to the customer through personally held devices to gain access to online accounts.
Passwords are losing their authority as a security measure for fraud prevention. Hackers can breach accounts using weak or easy-to-guess passwords and gain malicious access through single layer security methods. Customers are advised to create long passwords with complex characters to lower the probability of a breach. This hurts customer experience and often makes the login process tedious.
Authorised customer account access through two-step authentication method includes the following steps:
Two-step online identity verification services provide a way for companies to manage financial loss for end-user accounts without compromising customer experience. Malware activity and phishing attacks can be prevented by strengthening security layers.
Identity fraud: Calculating the global impact
News stories of online identity fraud are common across the world. A 2018 report by the London-based Fraud Advisory Panel listed fraud as one of human society’s greatest threats, a risk that dates back to the dawn of human civilization. In fact, fraud has infiltrated all stages of our technological progress in communication over the ages, from the early days of the telegraph and the telephone – right through to the advent of television – and certainly now with the internet.
Perhaps we should not be surprised to learn that our personal identity data is among the most valuable commodities on earth.
Every time there is another large-scale hack of personal identity data, thousands of gigabytes of highly-compromising data are eventually sold across underground darkweb markets. The data often comprises various identity components such as name, address, date of birth and encrypted passwords – but it can also be much more revealing when it comes to our identity and financial documents, including government ID / social security numbers, drivers licence numbers, etc.
In the last 10 years, some of the largest data breaches have also included some very famous brand names:
These data hacks represent some of the most popular websites in the world and yet, regardless of the company’s balance sheet or the presumption of online security – no company is truly immune from fraud.
Digital Identity Verification Methods Explained
To accurately verify and authenticate identity, three main ID verification processes have emerged and are often used in tandem during digital onboarding:
Digital Identity Verification Methods Explained
This solution allows users to get verified with a scan of a government-issued identity document. ID documents (such as a passport or national ID card) are very useful when it comes to verifying identity, particularly as these documents perform a critical regulatory or compliance step during digital onboarding.
The setup is simple: A user only needs a smartphone or desktop camera to scan their ID and process the results almost instantly. But that simplicity can have a downside too. Government-issued documents can be faked, and as you’d expect, there are different levels of quality when it comes to document tampering.
Determined fraudsters will try to find any opportunity to test a system’s weak points and a falsified document is among the most basic of attacks used. Companies need to take this into account when they select a digital identity verification vendor to ensure the safety of their customers and the integrity of their onboarding process.
Facial biometric solutions now provide an almost fully-automated identity verification experience without the downsides of a human operator or the costs associated with higher dropout rates.
In the broader identity verification market, facial verification software vendors tend to offer overly-homogenized and standardised products (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, etc) and most of these generic solutions are primarily designed to work under ideal lighting and within ‘perfect’ onboarding settings or even controlled hardware environments, where the initial facial scan is unlikely to run into any challenging characteristics that might interrupt or interfere with the digital onboarding process.
Identity verification vendors offer different liveness solutions to their customers, but most approaches generally use ‘active’ liveness detection, which requires a user to perform liveness instructions from facial movements to eye blinks and head twitches in order to ‘prove’ they are a real person (sometimes referred to as a ‘challenge response’).
As one might predict, the active form of liveness detection has a few obvious downsides:
End-users are more likely to experience uncomfortable dropouts due to software limitations.
A higher number of ID verification attempts ends up costing businesses more money across the onboarding process.
Results in more unhappy customers and higher customer abandonment rates.
A complex Issue = A dichotomy
This is a two-way street with companies needing to ensure they are dealing with the correct individual to avoid fraud, whilst individuals don’t really want to give out real information for fear of that information being stolen and then their being impersonated.
To this end many individuals, are resorting to using alternate email addresses, credit cards and phone numbers to create an online personality. It is still them, but using different credentials.
Online Verification will fall into 3 main categories:
Domestic – Banks, Govt departments, Legal, Insurance
Personal – Dating, Selling online, Social, gaming
Commerce – Survey Sites, Review Sites, Flexi-Work
Unlike the others, ‘Domestic Sites’ will require you to disclose Real private information like Passport, Address, Drivers Licence details and so on, however in all cases you will be able to use a secondary phone number or email, keeping your personal Mobile Number & email address, Private.
Keeping YOUR Data SAFE
Email – getting a new email address is pretty simple & all the top players, like Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft, will let you have one with a few basic pieces of information normally including a mobile number which they can send an authentication PIN to.
If you would prefer to really track which site is using your email address, then getting a whole domain may be more up your street.
Domains with email cost very little each month, but will give you a huge layer of protection.
Here is how it works:
Buy a Domain.. example: mydomain.com and set up email forwarding for all emails received (post master) to your actual email address. Then any time you are asked to enter an email address add one suffixed by your domain. For example if you are registering at facebook use [email protected], for Twitter use; [email protected] or Yell use; [email protected]
So, every site you register at will have a unique email address, centred on your domain.
In this way you can very easily see which sites have been hacked or sold your data, as any spam email will show up for your respective and unique email address. You can then that one address easily and simply, without worrying about all the others.
Great… but what about phone numbers?
As with Emails, you can actually have as many phone numbers as you require and inexpensively.
We wouldn’t suggest a number for every site, but certainly a number for different parts of your life, but having one additional number ensuring you can keep your actual phone number is essential.
Getting a new number is incredibly easy, simply sign up for the Verification Service at www.ConXhub.com.
Once you have been allocated a new number, it will be attached to your existing number and email address.
When you are sent an SMS message to your new number, it will be automatically forwarded to your existing number as an SMS and also sent as an email to your email address via a new service known as SMS2Email.
ConXhub offer phone numbers from over 10,000+ cities around the world and mobile numbers from over 26 countries and you can have as many numbers as you require on one account.
Phone Numbers for Commerce
There are huge benefits to using alternative phone numbers for your commercial aspects.
Knowing why you are being called or from which number gives you a ‘heads up’ on how to answer or even whether you should answer.
If a number is Private, and you get a call on it, chances are it is a spam call.
Alternative numbers make you appear more professional and can be routed to a host of different destinations, including colleagues, announcements, voicemail or other phone numbers.
So, when you need to verify who you are online using a SIM number, simply use a number from ConXhub and receive the verification code as an SMS right in to your email inbox.
Firebase Authentication is one of the SDK provided by Google for authenticating a user’s identity. Firebase provides a list of authentication methods, such as Google Sign-In, Sign in with Apple, Email and password authentication, Phone Number authentication, and more.
Phone number authentication is a common way for logging in to a mobile app. When signing in using Phone Number authentication, Firebase sends an SMS message with a 6-digit one-time code to the user’s phone. The user then has to type this code into an input field in the app they want to sign in to. The app then has to send this code with a generated verification ID back to Firebase for verification.
Moreover, Firebase uses silent push notifications and reCAPTCHA to prevent bots spamming the system.
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“One phone, One phone contract yet I’ve got 3 separate numbers linked to it!”
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