Identity crime is happening in Australia today. In fact, according to the Australian Federal Police, it is one of the most common crimes affecting the Australian community, costing upwards of $1.6 billion annually.
In August 2019, InfoTrack conducted a survey of our clients and found that 48% are looking for verification of identity (VOI) technology to help them conduct due diligence.
Having a robust VOI process in place not only helps you to minimise fraudulent risk but also helps you to know who your customer is, which is becoming increasingly important as the volume of international property transactions continues to increase.
An example of the importance of knowing your client is reflected in this example from the ACT. In 2014 a Canberra property owner had her property sold without her knowledge while she was living abroad. She only became aware after contacting her property manager to ask why she’d not been receiving rental payments. During the court procedure that followed, it was noted that neither the real estate nor the solicitor conducted sufficient checks to confirm the instructions were being provided by cyber criminals, rather than the true owner. The ACT government was ordered to pay more than $540,000 in damages to the property owner.
Whilst many organisations have fraud detection processes and systems in place, experienced fraudsters can still exploit the information that is shared between businesses to commit fraud with their sophisticated methods and evolving techniques.
Our August poll also revealed 60% of surveyed firms still store identification verification data in-house. While 65% believe verifying ID documents is vital, only 6% use Document Verification Systems (DVS)
Four top tips to ensure you follow best practice when it comes to VOI
To ensure that your agency is following the best Verification of Identity processes possible, consider the following:
- Don’t store identity documents on-site, they could be stolen or damaged due to fire or flood.
- Put a standard procedure in place to ensure that there is a consistent process in place.
- If you notice anything suspicious, conduct further checks until you are satisfied.
- Choose a technology that can help you
An example of a strong technology that can safely assist you to verify identity is InfoTrack’s WebVOI.
How does WebVOI work?
Step 1: Choose how you will verify identity:
- In person
- External agent
Step 2: Document Verification Service (DVS)
This is a national online system operated by the Australian Government that compares identity information with government records – it confirms details on a provided document match records held by the government authority that issued it and checks if the details are still valid.
Step 3: Facial Recognition
This detects facial patterns and will match images regardless of angle, posture, lighting, facial hair or whether the user is wearing glasses. WebVOI will complete a direct comparison between the image on an ID document and the photo taken of the client to verify authenticity.
Step 4: Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
This matches information from each document submitted to pre-populate the VOI and your matter. This increases the accuracy of identity information, avoids manual data entry errors and saves time.
WebVOI allows you to take your due diligence in the VOI space to the next level completing checks on your clients and their documents that are just not possible with a manual verification
When conducting your due diligence and making sure your client is who they say they are, do your best to keep to VOI standards wherever you can. If you find yourself in a situation where this is not possible, use your best judgement and ensure you take reasonable steps. Remember, it is always worth investigating further if you suspect any problems.