A New Virtual Reality: Bad Actors vs. Charitable Heroes

Bad Actors vs. Charitable Heroes

A recent study by the UK National Fraud & Cyber Security Centre reported that coronavirus-related fraud increased by 400% in March, but amidst these dark times, a new generation of heroes has emerged.

People across the globe are teaming up virtually and finding ways to help each other overcome the difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. We at Jumio are proud to help foster an environment where trust is of paramount importance by providing identity verification services to support organisations dedicated to COVID-19 relief efforts.

In the UK, organisations like April are providing free technical assistance for vulnerable people.

The technical support service offered over the phone by volunteers helps people impacted by the lockdown navigate the intricacies of their new online lives.

“We were amazed by how many people were prepared to offer their technical expertise for free,” said Michael Islip, April founder. “We recruited our first 200 volunteers within four days of going live.”

Technology is proving a key component in helping local communities organise themselves, and new apps, such as Nearby.Help, developed by Reason, provide yet another great source of support to those in self-isolation.

“We were at home sick and needed to get medication while self-isolating when the idea came to build a platform to allow people to offer their help to vulnerable people,” said Karl Schulenburg, Reason co-founder and CTO. “We launched Nearby.Help to match local heroes in the community with those in need.”

“We wanted to have a KYC process in place, not as stringent as that used by banks, but robust enough that we could ensure the integrity of our users,” Schulenburg said. “Jumio Go verifies the identity of our users, both volunteers and of the people in need of help. It protects users against fraudsters wanting to take advantage of vulnerable people. Bad actors are unlikely to want to have their photo taken in the platform they are trying to abuse.”

Another platform connecting communities is CoronaBuddy, created to provide grocery shopping and other vital services to those most in need.

“A person can request assistance on the platform and is connected to a volunteer helper,” said Chris Ogunsola, CoronaBuddy founder. “We ask volunteers who register and create a profile to go through a thorough identity verification process powered by Jumio Go.”

Aside from supporting individuals with their daily tasks, we’ve also seen new kinds of support for those in a professional capacity. The CBI Coronavirus Hub is providing the latest insights and analysis in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including information on the recently launched Bounce Back Loans scheme.

“The Chancellor’s new 100% guaranteed loan scheme for small businesses is transformational,” Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director General, said in a statement on 27 April. “Sole traders, micro-firms and entrepreneurs will now have a simple route to fast finance to stay afloat, without red tape or time-consuming checks. Thousands of businesses could be saved by this lifeline. Banks now need to continue their work in overdrive to get the loans flowing faster.”

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme also offered a lifeline to businesses in need of urgent funding. Lenders have been offered complimentary identity verification service to vet loan applicants and ensure businesses get access to those important funds.

While the world is facing one of its most challenging times, there is no denying that it has brought to light the goodness and selflessness that exists in us. Although bad actors will always try to take advantage of the vulnerable, at Jumio, we are proud to be helping create ecosystems of trust so that the good can most definitely outshine the bad.