Thursday, September 24, 2020

Why Were You Asked to Capture a Selfie Photo When Doing Online ID Verification?

With the current COVID-19 global pandemic crisis and the progress of digital adoption initiatives around the globe, businesses are feeling the brunt of the force. This is in line with a barrage of new practices moving forward. In line with the rise of facets of the new norm, low-touch and physical distancing practices, online ID verification technology is being used more frequently. 

In fact, capabilities for digital verification (including those related to the recognition of faces) are being relied on as companies, retailers, service providers, and brands seek to bring convenience, safety and speed to their online processes and transactions. 

With that being said, there may be some people who still wonder about the significance of capturing their selfies and identity cards when signing up to a digital platform. Is it safe to share selfies online?

Photo source: pexels

There are two main methods of facial ID capturing

For the most part, facial verification standards often require users to submit a selfie of themselves as part and parcel of the ID verification process. There are two frequently used methods for this. The first method is to upload a photo of a selfie, and the second method is to upload a photo of yourself holding your identity document. 

For manual verification process through eyeballing, the second method is the recommended implementation option because it is much more unlikely that hackers can find a victim's portrait photo in this pose readily available from social media profiles or other internet sources. On the other hand, the first method (capturing a selfie from a live camera) is a good option too when the facial verification process is automated with technology. Often, the facial sighting automation would require liveness detection capability to be built as part of the automation, either through the approach of:

i. active liveness detection (require subject to explicitly follow through some prompts such as face feature movements), or
ii. passive (without requiring any explicit movement).

Essentially, the purpose of capturing a customer’s selfie during self-service registration is to:

1. Prevent identity fraud/theft, such as misuse of someone else’s ID
2. Capture user’s consent
3. Enhance user’s account security
4. An added layer of security

Facial recognition and verification is becoming more common in offerings by Fintech and WealthTech providers, digital startups and an ensemble of other businesses driven by digital. It stems from the facet of e-KYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) often utilized for regulatory compliance purposes and for security reasons. Essentially, it also offers better protection with regard to self-interest for all parties involved and can be applied to a multitude of processes from property leasing, to asset-based transactions, and trading.

When users submit proof of identity and personal details, security teams and systems often use it to check whether details are authentic or otherwise. These checks are usually manual with certain automated components for better efficiency. Digital companies and businesses, as well as security providers, work hand-in-hand to ensure that the end-user and the enterprise are protected as much as possible from any malicious activities while maintaining a level of privacy that's in accordance with the law. Legitimate companies comply with local data protection regulations at all times, and it is unlikely that they ever have to use your information again after verification.

Making sure prospects are who they claim to be

Scams via fake identity tactics are rampant, especially since the pandemic lockdown and the rise of COVID-19. Many have fallen prey to new scam tactics which involve convincing buyers with fake identities or fake identity document numbers to lure their victims away from their money.

Facial verification, identity document verification and data source verification methods make up the security trifecta that helps to reduce the instances of scams and vulnerabilities. Facial recognition technology has come a long way from its earlier days of development, and it is becoming increasingly harder to bypass the security measures put in place by numerous digital agencies, startups and businesses. 

Advanced identity verification essentially helps with fraud management by making it more difficult for scammers, cybercriminals and hackers to breach systems or fool victims into thinking they are genuine. Managing and minimizing the potential for fraud and other commercial risks is also crucial for business success, and identity authentication is one of the most powerful risk management practices available for protecting both businesses and consumers.

Things to avoid

If you ever find yourself signing up, purchasing a product or opting for a service with a verified company, try and be sure that you abide by proper requirements for successful facial verification. Avoid any act that will be qualified as facial identity masquerading (such as the use of printed photos, or portraits displayed from an external screen, to name a few). Likewise, a face presented in a video call, animated talking heads and face masks will also disqualify the subject from a successful verification instance. Do make sure that your face is fully visible without “noise” from backlighting, glare or excessive blurriness. Also, please put up your shirt :)

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