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Identity checks helping to fight fraud in a tough economic climate


Instances of fraud are on the increase and counter fraud measures are more important to businesses than ever.

As inflation soars and the cost-of-living crisis puts a squeeze on household finances, fraud, money laundering and other financial crimes are on the rise, according to Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention community. Cases reported to the National Fraud Database in the first nine months of 2022 were up 17% on the previous year. This increase was mainly driven by a rise in false application and identity fraud, up by 45% and 34% respectively[1].

Regulated businesses have to make effective Know Your Customer (KYC) checks and comply with anti-money laundering (AML) guidance to guard against fraud, money-laundering and corruption. This includes accountants, financial service businesses, estate agents, solicitors and financial institutions that issue loans. It also concerns high-value retailers as items such as luxury cars can be bought and turned into cash to launder money.


Where legislation clashes with customer experience

While costly, the truth is that fraud only occurs in a relatively low percentage of transactions. So, it’s a perpetual challenge to balance protecting against fraud where the financial stakes are high on the one hand with safeguarding a company’s reputation for customer service on the other.

This challenge can occur when a high-value dealer or financial institution wants to transact with a client but has to carry out what might seem like intrusive or lengthy checks. In competitive environments, exemplary customer experience is often a key differentiator.

For example, a customer in a prestige car dealership is ready to part with tens of thousands of pounds to buy a new vehicle or take up a significant financial package. AML legislation says the dealer has to carry out due diligence, but they don’t want to offend or create unnecessary delays that will compromise the customer experience.

Frictionless checks improve the customer journey

We work with one well known prestige car retailer to help to perform their Know Your Customer checks smoothly, using automated KYC services without compromising on customer experience. They use the TrustID identity verification service to validate the identity of their buyers as part of a KYC check, either in-person in the showroom or remotely via a one-time upload link sent by email.

If the customer is in the showroom, the salesperson captures their ID document, such as a passport, driving licence or international ID card. If the sale is being finalised away from the showroom, the salesperson can send an email containing a one-time access link to allow their buyer to upload an ID and ‘selfie’ image themselves. As the service is web-based, neither the customer nor the retailer has to download anything. The images are uploaded to an online service and validated automatically or, if necessary, transferred to a team of document analysts for manual checking. The additional human intervention provides an extra level of protection and a higher likelihood of a definitive response.

The ID technology includes document authentication services and biometric facial matching technology, which confirms the likeness between the photo ID and the selfie and includes AI and liveness checks to prevent photo manipulation fraud. The TrustID service is also linked to the national fraud database of known fraudulent documents which presents a further flag if the document has been previously reported as fraudulent or fraudulently obtained.

Seamless integration

Embedding an effective ID validation service within the customer’s application or purchasing journey doesn’t necessarily involve compromising on the customer experience. TrustID’s approach is based on industry-leading technology and human expertise. Embedding ID validation technology into the KYC processes helps high-risk customers to protect both their business and their reputation for providing an excellent customer onboarding experience.

Learn more about our KYC checks