If one wakes up an AML officer in the middle of the night and asks “Why do we need the identity verification?”, the person will, most probably, give these answers:
1. Identity fraud is continually on the rise with people all around the world using more and more devices to connect their personal data to different apps, services and payment systems;
2. If identity fraud happens, identity verification is the ultimate tool that can help the user prove that a particular account belongs to them, just like the money, investment or whatever else is associated with the particular identity and threatened by the criminal activity.
(If you wake them up from not too deep sleep, though.)
A few weeks back, in the article “AML: guarding the digital persona” published on the Mintos blog, we wrote about regulations that are bounding Mintos to comply with the Anti-money laundering practices.
Identity verification is one of the tools that is making these compliance practices possible in the first place, and this is nothing previously unknown to humanity. Identity verification, in one form or the other, has been a practice since people have started making a difference between one person and the other, and more importantly – between that which belongs to each one of them.
Identity theft is on the rise
According to the European Central Bank report, losses only from the card fraud – hence the value of fraudulent transactions – reached a total amount of EUR 1.8 billion in SEPA area, as observed in 2016. The digital crime is more appealing than ever, with the “Fraud as a Service” (FaaS) triumphing on the dark web, connecting organised (and smart) criminals from all corners of the world in a growing market of “identities as goods”. They are reinventing identities from the stolen data, harvested from data breaches or gathered on the dark web, and then use them for new accounts, for taking over the existing accounts or for monetization of the stolen card data. According to the Symantec Report from 2019, a single credit card data can be sold for up to USD 45 on the black market, and just 10 credit cards stolen from compromised websites could bring a yield of up to USD 2.2. million for cybercriminals.
The fraud prevention technology services and legislations are developing simultaneously. On one side, the technology is developing to satisfy the need for speed and localised services for the onboarding and verification processes in finances that are required by legal entities. On the other side, legal entities are required to protect customers from the technology further down the line, putting limitations on artificial intelligence (AI) and its practical influence on modern society. For example, citizens of the European Union (EU) are on the way to be protected by new regulations that will give them new rights over the use of their biometrics, with the goal to limit the indiscriminate use of facial recognition technology. This is already governed by GDPR, but the European Commission (EC) wants to take it one step further as the technology continues to develop and as the risks of data usage overstep the individual agreeableness with causes of the use. EC will undertake the development of new regulations to bring more public trust and acceptance. The thing is – online identity verification is here to stay, but those protecting individual identities will also keep on following/overrunning the technology, making the individuals’ digital identities a priority. EU’s private and public investment in AI is planned to be increased to EUR 20 billion a year.
Identity verification – not the last time you’ll hear of it
The good news is: to stay in business and to keep their systems clean and fort-like safe, companies must comply with regulations and provide verification and user-protection technology that will ensure the safety of clients’ data – and of their money. At Mintos, we do this, too.
Simply put – with the help of technology, verification is providing the entity-identity binding, ensuring that: you are – you (or that “material you” is the real and ultimate owner of digitally provided documents with your name on them). It’s a line of methods used in real-time, confirming the realness or the fakeness of the correlation: person-documents.
Usually, these solutions use artificial intelligence, machine learning and biometrics to verify digital persona. Research by MarketsandMarkets evaluates that the global market of identity verification will grow from USD 6 billion in 2018 to USD 12.8 billion by 2024.
Used mostly in industries like gambling, trading, online education, eCommerce, banking and finances, the identity verification processes are ensured by the involvement of private and public databases, matching the provided data in order to connect the pieces of existing information about the person. By making sure that identities are verified, companies can protect their environment and their clients from cybercriminals, it helps in fraud prevention, against money laundering, terrorism financing, corruption and other crimes lurking from the vastness of the internet.
On Mintos, we use identity verification to (not in this order specifically):
– Comply with the regulations;
– Protect the integrity of Mintos and Mintos investors;
– Protect the invested money of Mintos investors;
– Protect the personal data of Mintos investors;
– Protect the Mintos marketplace from illegal money.
Being compliant means protecting our business from huge financial fines or even more serious penalties. As penalties and related measures could slow down our operation, this means that by asking users for the identity verification we are indirectly protecting the developing industry from unnecessary mistakes that can eventually cost millions of people jobs and money saved.
Identity verification is a practical tool shielding digital identities and online marketplaces. It will continue developing and shapeshifting, but it is here to stay – as long as we interact, work and invest online.