Customer Identity Verification: The Key to Future Online Protection for All

The pandemic has brought with it a lot of positives in terms of an increase in entrepreneurship, new ideas, and more of the world’s population being online.

Along with all the good stuff, there are also the increased risks in being online. Interpol reported an increase in cyber-attacks at the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Though geared mainly towards government institutions, it still doesn’t bode well for your business or personal data.

Due to these attacks and increasing cases of online fraud, cyberbullying and scams, governments in trying to protect their citizens, decided they needed to strengthen basic customer due to diligence and created customer id verification solutions. Now, customer identity verification programs like Know Your Customer (KYC) are a requirement for your business when onboarding new customers and when you do business at financial institutions.

The new anti-money laundering (AML) laws help prevent the funding of human trafficking and drug smuggling which, according to the United Nations Global Report on Human Trafficking, affects 155 countries with the majority of the victims being young people and 20% children. For the protection of all online and off, this makes having KYC and AML compliance and enforcing consumer identity verification a must in the fight against crime and defunding the criminal elements in our society.

Consumer Identity Verification for Home and School

Adults aren’t the only ones online. Despite 2.2 billion of the world’s children not being online, there are still 33% of children worldwide, according to UNICEF, who do have access to the internet. When schools shut down in 2019, classes went digital and parents, teachers, students and administrators all had to adjust to the new normal of teaching and learning online.

Zoom became the teachers’ choice for online education and most businesses’ choice for virtual meetings, but Zoom is known to come with its own security risks. Despite adding end-to-end encryption, Zoom still has issues with unauthorized data sharing and access. Zoom has even shared information with Facebook and has had to pay $85 million in claims to its users.

Yet, some still insist on using the video conferencing software even though they run the risk of their private meeting being exposed to uninvited guests.  One would think with other cheaper, safer meeting options on the market, it would be a simple matter to just make the switch.

Zoom, however, is not the only problem when you or your children log on. Bad links sent by well-meaning parties can contain viruses and even your children’s classmates can be cyberbullies. Whether you’re doing business online, gaming, or just surfing the web, there is the risk of identity theft, scams, cyber-attacks and online fraud.

Being able to identify the people you interact with online is half the battle and though it’s difficult to manage something like cyberbullying and how it can affect your child, you can use the consumer id verifications solutions available to identify your child’s attacker. The same way corporate KYC is a requirement for working and doing business, the same should be done for gaming and online classes. Using the methods of customer id verification solutions for schools, gaming systems, health care centers, and other non-financial institutions can still protect the young and not so young users while they use their systems along with their data collected with IDMERIT.

The Key to Future Online Protection for All

Knowing Your Customer and Being KYC Compliant

Like a double opt-in when you sign up via email, knowing your customer and ensuring KYC and AML compliance may seem redundant and tedious, but both are needed if your corporation wishes to go beyond basic customer due diligence and ensure you are compliant with updated Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) laws.

Knowing your customer goes beyond collecting the relevant documentation. In starting to know your customer, there is the need for standard customer due diligence to ensure you can trust your customer. If you aren’t sure or there is some question concerning their financial, living or employment history then you should proceed with basic customer due diligence. If this person is shady as hell, then use IDMaml to be sure there is no money laundering connection to a drug dealer or shady politician.

Becoming KYC compliant goes beyond even the enhanced due diligence. Banks, government institutions and corporate entities must have KYC and AML compliance by participating in customer identification programs, ensuring their security systems are updated, fraudulent accounts are highlighted and by following the money.

Basic AML compliance includes customer identity verification, customer identity validation and age verification. Once you complete your corporate KYC, you can become a KYC verification partner and offer KYC verification services.

Though KYC, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) laws are directed mainly to banks and other financial institutions, on the corporate and small business level, your company should still aim to have some form of know your customer compliance. At the corporate level, due to laws governing corporate business practices and accounting, corporate KYC and AML compliance is not an option.

For smaller to medium size businesses though, you may not face the risk of heavy fines due to the small volume of revenue incoming through your business. However, there is still the need for proper traceability and accountability. You can still have your own customer identification program and get KYC and AML compliance. One suggestion is to partner with a KYC verification partner who provides an easier customer id verification solution by using the tools you have, mainly your smartphone.

As a small startup, homerun business or micro-business, you may not have funds or available technology to install any additional software. Nor may you have the time or manpower to devote to learning how KYC compliance or corporate KYC works, but you do have a cellphone. Though there are some dangers in using smartphones, IDMERIT has a range of customer id verification solutions that can perform basic customer due diligence, provide data and risk protection services like IDMdevice which is great for safer customer onboarding and fraud protection. As part of our KYC verification services, we can provide automated KYC checks and help you with a digital KYC solution.

Smartphones, Data Protection and Security Risks

We do almost everything on our smartphones. Nowadays smartphones come equipped with biometric scanners for identity protection and phone applications, cameras, and have the same features as your home computer.

Although having biometric features is a plus from a security standpoint it also comes with the risk of third-party data. Then there are the phones themselves which are portable and filled with our private photos, third-party apps, banking data and other personal data which is sometimes stored on the device, in additional storage or in cloud apps. None of which provide complete security or protection from hackers.

We may love our cellphones, but in order for them to work as well as they should, they need access to Wi-Fi or a mobile data plan. Data plans can be cheap or costly depending on your service provider and geographical location. This leads to a lot of people favoring free Wi-Fi and mobile hotspots.

The danger of logging into these mobile hotspots or sometimes even your billed service provider is the added risk of your data being stolen along with your identity. Few phones come with enough built-in security features to protect their owner from the third-party apps the user adds, far less from a major cyber-attack by a decent hacker. The lack of competent built-in security on cellphones pass the biometric scans and encryption, is a stupid flaw in an otherwise smart device.

The use of smartphones has made our lives easier and can perform consumer identity verification, age verification, customer onboarding, and complete digital KYC and automated KYC checks by adding the software development kit as a mobile application.

Smartphones can do almost everything, except fill out forms, but with IDMERIT’s IDMautofill you can auto-fill those forms and prevent fraud using IDMdevice. That way your smartphone and business can be secure and ready to perform customer KYC verification.

Protection for All

KYC and AML aren’t just for the benefit of banks and corporate entities. The enforcement of consumer identity verification and KYC anti-money laundering ensures the protection of all patrons, employees and family members who use these entities and it’s better for government revenue and global security. Even performing basic customer due diligence in your small business or having digital KYC solutions available on your mobile can help identify scammers, fraudsters and reduce the risk for you and your children when they study or play online.

Having your company participate in a customer identification program or becoming a KYC verification partner helps support the efforts of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and reduces the risk of fraud when doing business. Customer onboarding can be done faster through digital KYC or automated KYC checks.

Pushing for change in online education and gaming by demanding the video conferencing and gaming platforms our children use are equipped with consumer identity verification technology to identify who interacts with our children online is another way we can use customer id verification solutions to benefit us in our personal lives.

We may find the extra documentation and questions a bit tedious, but the fact that these institutions now have to use the same KYC verification services when choosing employees should allow us to sleep a bit easier knowing our money and information is safe with people we know. Also when using IDMERIT’s system of identity protection and mitigation tools, we can all assist in the fight against human trafficking, money laundering, and drug trafficking by becoming KYC verification partners and ensuring  KYC and AML compliance.

Technology changes rapidly and given we had to adjust just as fast at the onset of the pandemic, it’s safe to say, we as a people, are resilient enough to adapt to a virtual future. Once there is enough data protection and identity verification provided by online platforms and websites, we can choose to remain virtual while still enjoying our time in the sun.

Jay Raol
Jay Raol

Jay Raol has been a Media Manager, Entrepreneur, Political Analyst and an Environmentalist. He aspires to climb the mighty Himalayas, and learn a new language every year. He lives in the beautiful city of Carlsbad in Southern California and owns a great collection of books. He is on schedule to publish his first book; 'Thou Art, Dope'. Co-founded two companies that provide futuristic solutions to the world while being quite enthusiastic about helping and investing in technology startups.

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