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Part one: Industry development as a response to cybercrimes

We already know that the digital world’s transition is unstoppable for many industries. Every one of us undertakes more and more activities online. We are starting to see online shopping as just shopping and mobile banking as just banking – like so many other industries. From this point of view, identity verification services have become a necessary part of running an online business. Nowadays, using Internet resources requires verifying users’ identities and having adequate security measures to prevent identity thefts. The reflection on the past year, shaped by life management under the Covid-19 pandemic, the relentless pace of cyberattacks, and emerging regulations to counter them, creates a dynamic landscape. One value remains constant – the need for frictionless and secure access to the digital world, answered by identity verification.

In this article, we will look into cybercrime and how identity verification services help to combat it. We will also wonder what trends will emerge in the digital world in the coming years in the context of proving that the user on the other side of the screen is who they say they are.

Pandemic cybercrime – what can we do?

Does the pandemic-induced accelerated digital transformation have its downside? We can certainly say that one of the critical threats has been the increase in cybercrimes. In May 2021, cyberattacks and data breaches reached 116 million. The unprecedented growth in online frauds has caused about 5 trillion dollars in losses to the global economy. The majority of cases (52%) are related to user errors and weak passwords. Therefore, identity verification and biometric technology must replace traditional authentication methods.

The enormous growth of identity theft scams by ever-increasing sophisticated methods has arisen under several circumstances. First, it was caused by the global trend of online and cashless transactions, which began necessary during the pandemic. Furthermore, cybercriminals are more and more prepared to use malicious software. On the one hand, artificial intelligence and machine learning have made business operations faster and more efficient but also more vulnerable to attacks. The use of false documents, account takeovers and synthetic identity fraud are just some examples of the new threats that make it difficult for companies to fight identity theft and money laundering. The only way to manage these problems is to pay extreme caution in the process of verifying and onboarding new clients.

What does this mean for organizations seeking to resolve the issues with online fraud? First of all, multi-factor identity verification which checks multiple personal data points, is needed more than ever. It should be borne in mind that the data collected during different attacks varies, and it is also relatively easy to buy single personal data on the dark web. The conclusion is clear – verifications carried out with just one personal information data point (e.g., date of birth, address, personal number) or a knowledge-based authentication are not sufficient security methods. It is worth considering outsourcing these activities to an identity verification provider who will be able to tailor the entire process to the specific requirements of each industry. Further technology and verification methods development using artificial intelligence and machine learning can make the process fully automated and possible to complete in seconds. This will ensure that using an additional security layer will not be a burden for users.

The dynamic development of the identity verification industry – a response to new challenges

The online identity verification market is predicted to exceed $ 17 billion by 2026. Also, the number of verifications performed annually is expected to triple, from 1,1 billion in 2021 to 3,8 billion in 2026. Those numbers will be the result of the necessity to meet the KYC (Know Your Customer), AML (Anti-Money Laundering), and CDD (Customer Due Diligence) requirements, which will drive the growth rate of the industry to 22% in the next five years. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalization and thus has impacted the transition of services, previously available mainly in the offline world, to virtual space. At the same time, we can observe demographic shifts transforming many services, including financial ones. Therefore, identity verification responds to the needs of Generations Y and Z entering the labour market. They do not have a credit history, so financial institutions struggle with quick acceptance of their applications.

The identity verification industry is looking for a perfect solution to balance two issues. First, online fraud should be seen as an ever-evolving problem, so technology must be dynamic and respond to emerging threats. Therefore, creating a solid layer of security that protects companies and their clients against online frauds and substantial financial losses is a crucial factor. Secondly, the development of digital services demands a comfortable user experience. The smoothness of the entire process is equally essential to ensure convertibility and users’ readiness to use the services or purchase the products as quickly and conveniently as possible.

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Digitalization has also made digital identity a hot topic. Online space requires different rules and solutions. It is necessary to focus highly on the user experience because, as Internet users, they will abandon the process if it is not convenient for them. This creates enormous competition in all industries that have to abide by KYC regulations. Therefore, the identity verification market is full of innovations, new strategies, and initiatives aiming to create a new KYC to replace the inadequacy of the traditional one. The verification solutions must include AML, KYC, KYB (Know Your Business), and fraud management, bringing them together under a good user experience.

The need to prove that the user is who they say they are has never been greater. This is particularly important in organizations in the financial services industry dealing with high-risk transactions and in the healthcare industry handling sensitive data. Moreover, these areas have experienced the most significant level of digitalization due to the pandemic. Perhaps the next challenge will be the transition from the necessary user’s identity verification during onboarding to a digital identity that will allow full participation in the online ecosystem.

Biometrics trends – what may appear in identity verification?

Biometrics has become a permanent part of the verification methods for confirming one’s identity online. Trends in this sector aim to create safer, faster, and more comfortable solutions for the user. There is a lot to race for – the industry is estimated to reach $ 55 billion by 2027. Biometrics will play a huge role in banking and finance, healthcare, and law enforcement agencies. We will be observing the implementation of multimodal authentication by using at least two biometrics methods to get protected against cyber fraud. Also, behavioral biometrics will come into play. We will see the background checks, which will use gait analysis, voice recognition, or keystroke dynamics.

Demographics – the issues to solve for the identity verification sector

One of the most pressing matters for identity verification providers is algorithm bias which should be addressed as soon as possible. This bias may be seen in face verification solutions regarding the verification of age, race gender, and other characteristics of the users. This problem has been brought to light by increased interest in identity verification solutions during the pandemic. It is evident in verification with the use of an identity document and photo of the user, which is based on a face recognition algorithm. There is a growing awareness of this phenomenon in the industry and its implications for user experience, possible brand damage, and legal liability. As a result, it is estimated that from 2022 95% of organizations will require proof that identity verification service providers make efforts to minimize demographic bias. It is a significant increase from around 15% in 2021.

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Identity verification service in Fully-Verified

At Fully-Verified, we have been preparing for the challenges of accelerated digitalization and cyber threats. We currently offer verification services that combine security standards with a good user experience. Confirmation of identity takes place during a video call with the help of a specialized operator. Our services incorporate technology, biometrics, artificial intelligence, and the process is supported by human intelligence in the form of two options:

Live-Verify: The verification takes place on the live video call. The verification specialist guides the user through all the steps and evaluates the technology-supported process.

Self-Verify: the user goes through the process on their own by following the instructions. Then the verification specialist evaluates the recorded process.

Meanwhile, we are adding new functionalities and improvements. We aim to balance safety and compliance with a friendly frictionless user experience. More information about what we managed to achieve in 2021 can be found in this article.

Summary

In the near future, we will continue to enter a new phase of digitization. Staying in compliance with KYC is no longer the exclusive domain of financial institutions. We will witness the implementation of those regulations when registering all types of online accounts. The variety of new tools will reduce the cost of verification services and make it easier for users to get the procedure done. Certainly, organizations will begin to perceive a great value in knowing who actually is the recipient of their services and products. This will contribute to more effective risk management related to online frauds. Cybercrime demands constant monitoring of online interactions, which the identity verification industry is prepared for, adapting its services to new regulations and sectors. We can already expect significant changes. The business will have to deal with demographic, technological, and policy changes. Identity verification service addresses these issues by offering certainty, security, flexibility, and innovation values.

 

Part 2 Identity verification trends in everyday life

As we approach mid-2022, we dwell on changes in the identity verification industry and observe what sectors it is entering to enable everyone to participate in the digitized world. It seems that the Covid-19 pandemic has faded, but its consequences in the area of remote access to various services are still visible and have become part of our lives. Social distancing has forced the transformation of many industries into a form of remote participation, in which identity verification helps. Remote confirmation that a person is who they claim to be makes it easier to deal with the formalities of everyday life. The user will also require this convenience in the future. Hence identity verification becomes the key to business development.

Remote work

The Covid-19 pandemic has also reshuffled the labour market. Many organizations had to switch to remote or hybrid work models. Thus, their vulnerability to cyberattacks has been exposed. Individual employees have become the main target of criminals in the online space due to the possible use of personal devices at home, mobile in particular. However, new technologies have met the demand for anti-fraud tools. The authorization has grown into a significant challenge, leaving behind traditional passwords and knowledge-based solutions. As a result, multi-factor methods of authentications, supported by biometrics and smart cards, have arisen. 

According to Securing the New Hybrid Workplace report, there has been an increase in identity verification technologies within the work environment – 51% of organizations implemented the one-time passwords, and 40% use biometric authentication. Moreover, 36% use mobile verification, providing access to the company’s resources by mobile device authentication. All these activities create a new zero-trust concept based on the identity verification of employees working from home to protect a company’s data. 

Therefore, new solutions were introduced within the life-cycle of employees’ digital identities to enhance security by implementing more reliable registration and access procedures. The methods of authorization by e-mail or phone number used so far must be forgotten. It is estimated that by 2024, 30% of corporations will implement new identity verification tools, given the increase in remote interactions.

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Identity verification will play an essential role in the workforce because of the so-called culture of resignation, influenced by remote work and more significant workflow. Verification solutions will be irreplaceable in employees’ on- and offboarding. Moreover, through the physical dispersion of employees, the remote work model increases the risk of social engineering cyberattacks. What is expected is an increase in the organizations’ demand, efforts, and financial resources for identity verification services.

Contactless travel

The pandemic has also impacted the way we travel. The mobility and tourism sector adjustments will probably permanently affect our reality. Due to epidemiological safety and the attempt to protect passengers against Covid-19 and prepare the businesses for possible future pandemic threats, changes have become and will be necessary. However, it is not the only factor influencing our journeys. Many elements of this transformation have become both convenient and attractive to customers. An example is the possibility of avoiding queues at the airport thanks to online check-in. Balancing the safety with ease and comfort may create a competitive advantage. It will be an enormous asset in the near future, influenced by demographical shifts. We devoted more attention to this topic in the article about identity verification services for airlines. Moreover, such solutions will relieve customs and border services, whose efforts can focus more on emergencies and risk management. Certainly, the future will bring other solutions regarding digital travel documents, e-passports, and electronic authorization of travel entitlements.

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Demand for mobility

The Covid-19 pandemic has ushered us into a new reality of social distancing, which has led to an even greater demand for using mobile devices. The obligation to avoid direct contact with other people caused dealing with as many matters of everyday life as possible in the online space. More than half of global internet traffic goes through mobile devices. In some countries, this percentage is even higher. Statistics show that more than ⅓ of internet users do not have access to stationary devices. 

The growing trend toward mobile payments and solutions that allow users to register their accounts online will drive the market demand for identity verification providers. Due to the increasing number of industries where confirmation of customer identity plays a significant role, innovation will be crucial. One of its results should be an adaption of verification solutions to mobility conveniently for the user. 

However, it should be noted that the number of scams with the use of mobile devices is also growing. For now, the challenge is balancing protection against cybercriminals with comfort for the user.

NFT

2022 has revealed a new trend in the online art market. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) have become a way for new creators to enter the market and have attracted crowds of investors simultaneously. However, there are still no precise regulations governing this sector. NFTs are expected to become increasingly popular as there is a demand for a new concept of buying and selling legal rights to digital goods. Therefore, there is a great need to verify the identity of users in order to reduce fraud. 

The success of NFT is overshadowed by the problems with how platforms offering such tokens operate. Buyers do not fully understand what they buy, and sellers often do not own what they sell. To eliminate this problem, the platforms must immediately implement buyer protection. The first step should be verifying the seller’s identity and ensuring they have the right to sell each token. The platform must ensure that there is a verified and legitimate person on the other side of the transaction. You can read more about the role of identity verification in the NFT market here.

Remote higher education

With the covid-19 pandemic, there has been an unprecedented revolution in the higher education system. The initial rush in the transition to remote learning and adjusting to regulations related to social distancing will turn into permanent changes over time. Many universities have started offering online studies regardless of the pandemic. The introduction of this model of learning requires a new form of identity confirmation, which enables all formalities related to studies to be completed online. Remote identity verification came to the rescue. Students can now participate in recruitment, enroll in academic classes or take exams without leaving their homes. 

Universities can cooperate with external verification providers, thanks to which administrative costs and staff time are reduced, and the entire process meets regulatory compliance and ensures that the student is who they say they are. Verification solutions can help higher education entities in the future to extend the educational offer in the remote model, and this will allow more people to participate in courses. Fully-Verified has experience in providing identity verification solutions for students and candidates in continuous collaboration with Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences.

Identity verification service in Fully-Verified

Fully-Verified offers services that enable convenient identity verification online, and we are prepared to cooperate with various industries which have begun or are planning to implement solutions facilitating access to services traditionally reserved for face-to-face interactions. 

Confirmation of identity takes place during a video call with the help of a specialized operator. Our services incorporate technology, biometrics, artificial intelligence, and the process is supported by human intelligence in the form of two options:

  • Live-Verify: The verification takes place on the live video call. The verification specialist guides the user through all the steps and evaluates the technology-supported process.
  • Self-Verify: The user goes through the process on their own by following the instructions. Then the verification specialist evaluates the recorded process.

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Fully-Verified was created as answer to its founders collectively losing over $150 000 to various types of fraud in their eCommerce businesses.