How Online Identity Verification Helps Build Trust and Safety

Trust and safety are highly valuable to businesses that need to protect both the reputation and the security of their ecosystems. Businesses need to be able to build quality relationships with complete strangers while also reducing the risk of fraud, criminal behavior and physical harm.

Threats to trust and safety can take many forms depending on the business model. If you look at the sharing economy, there’s a growing concern that drivers using rideshare apps match the account on file and that the right driver is behind the wheel. Job seekers are a major target for identity thieves, which is why career sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter and need to find a way to prevent scammers from exploiting the information on a job seeker’s resume.

Food delivery services need to provide trust and safety precautions when it comes to the customers who accept deliveries at their private residences, as well as the delivery drivers bringing items to the homes of those customers.

In order to protect their ecosystems, businesses need to adequately vet new users to establish that a person’s digital identity (who they claim to be) matches their real-world identity (who they truly are). But traditional identity verification methods like SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) and knowledge-based authentication (KBA) are no longer recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and are problematic for a couple reasons:

  • KBA questions are based on information easily found through social media, the dark web and other sources of publicly traded information, so they’re easy for users to answer but they’re easy pickings for fraudsters, too.
  • 2FA is flawed because fraudsters are able to play man-in-the-middle and can intercept SMS messages intended for the user leveraging with mobile phone-based malware.

Aside from the security concerns linked to both of these authentication methods, businesses also run the risk of a frustrating experience—a missing smartphone or other authentication factor can easily derail the 2FA process—as well as a situation that disrupts customer trust, such as when users find KBA questioning intrusive (or hard to remember).

It’s imperative to keep customers’ trust through secure business processes, but with distrust on both sides, what can businesses do to win over new customers without compromising safety? Building a better trust infrastructure is possible thanks to online identity verification, which helps businesses strike a balance between fraud detection and user conversion.

Modern online identity verification methods provide the flexibility of designing a simple and streamlined customer journey that can help optimize conversions while at the same time keeping customer data secure, effectively deterring would-be fraudsters. There are five ways businesses can reduce fraud with the right online identity verification solution:

  1. Government-Issued ID. Require a government-issued ID such as a passport or driver’s license—it’s still the one of the most reliable and trusted forms of identification.
  2. AI & Machine Learning. Leverage AI and machine learning, which help you assess whether a certain ID is authentic or fraudulent.
  3. Verification Experts. Require human review, because humans can often see patterns that automation and machine learning cannot detect.
  4. Liveness Detection. Take advantage of liveness detection, which verifies that the person holding the ID is physically present during a transaction.
  5. Document Verification. Document verification, which extracts data from utility bills and other supporting documents, adds another level of identity proofing.

Trust is increasingly elusive and is a two-sided equation—businesses need to establish trust without alienating new customers. In bypassing unreliable traditional methods of authentication and following our five simple identity verification steps, your business can do a better job of fraud detection and identity proofing while also upholding trust and safety for your ecosystem.


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