Top Identity Verification Issues to Be Aware Of
Identity theft has been increasing across the globe with each passing year. Different types of identity theft have become common over the years, including financial, medical, criminal, child, tax, senior, and employment.
The increased incidences of identity theft have necessitated private and government institutions to conduct identity verification. While the process is well-intentioned, some issues may arise.
Below are 5 key things you need to know about identity verification.
Identity Verification is Aimed at Ensuring You are Who You Say You Are
Identity verification is particularly necessary when transacting or applying for government resources online, although it is often required offline. For example, filing taxes, applying for unemployment benefits, and applying for unemployment benefits.
It prevents another person from carrying out a procedure on your behalf without your authorization, committing fraud, or creating false identities in the case of identity theft.
In most cases, institutions outsource their online identity verification to companies such as ID.me, iDentify, Jumio, and others. While some institutions recommend a particular identity verification solution, others allow you to choose your preferred service provider.
Whichever the option, it is important you check online reviews for the identity verification company to ensure that it is credible. ID.me reviews on a review platform PissedConsumer.com indicate some of the common identity verification problems customers encounter when using such services. For example, difficulty getting verified, poor customer service, and challenges logging in to the platforms.
There are Different Methods of Verification
There is a wide range of techniques employed by identity verification companies to ascertain your identity. The most common ones include knowledge based-verification, two-factor authentication, biometric verification, and credit bureau database. Most companies use several verification methods simultaneously.
To verify your identity using the knowledge-based method, you are required to respond to a series of self-identity questions. The questions are usually simple to answer. For example, which course did you study at the university? How many pets do you have? Which city were you born in? etc.
With the two-step authentication, a code is sent to your phone or email, and you are required to provide it in the verification portal. Therefore, you need to have your phone nearby or access your email during the authentication process.
Credit bureau verification relies on data from credit bureaus. Credit bureau companies have extensive information from their customers, e.g., address, name, and social security number. Therefore, some identity verification companies use the credit bureaus database to counter-check your identity.
Biometric verification uses your physical characteristics to authenticate your identity. For example, fingerprints, voice recognition, facial recognition, and retina scanning, among others.
Identity Verification Companies Face a Huge Risk of Cyber Security
Identity verification services face a significant cyber security threat. Some experts note that such id verification companies have access to a lot of sensitive information about their customers, yet they may be hacked.
The idea of a breach is not far-fetched as various government and military institutions have been hacked before. Therefore, in case these verification companies are breached, the hackers and scammers would get unprecedented access to people’s personal information.
Therefore, there’s a common cyber security recommendation that the government sets up frameworks and legislations to govern the identity verification companies. For instance, have one company verify only a specific type of information, say id verification, and another company verify a different kind of information, e.g., social security number.
The companies should have zero trust in themselves and stringent privacy policies. They should also have well-thought-out cyber security controls.
There haven’t been any security breach incidences so far, so most people feel safe sharing their information with the companies. Nevertheless, keep in mind that there are risks associated with using identity verification services.
If you are too concerned about the security of your personal data, contact the institution you are dealing with to find out if they have an option for offline verification.
Not All Identity Verification Services Comply with Safety and Standards
Although there are no laws to govern identity verification services yet, there are some set safety standards and qualifications to guide these companies. The standards are aimed at ensuring legitimacy and safety when handling customer information. However, some of the companies do not comply.
For example, methods such as selfies and images are considered unreliable. On the other hand, according to ETSI, video verification is the only legitimate global identity verification process.
You Could Already Be a Victim of Identity Theft
When you use the identity verification service, you might encounter a situation where you find that someone else is already using your information. For example, you could be applying for unemployment benefits only to find that you are already a beneficiary.
An impersonator may have used your name, ID, and social security number but changed your address and provided their banking information. In such a scenario, personal information is usually not stolen from identity verification companies or the state but rather from other third parties.
If you find out that your information has already been stolen, you need to take immediate action to minimize further damage. Therefore, take the following steps:
- Report to the police.
- Freeze your credit.
- Close or tighten security on your bank accounts.
- Check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized charges.
- If you have identity theft insurance, file a claim with your service provider.
- Make a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Notify any companies you transact with of your stolen identity.
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Register for credit monitoring services.
With more and more institutions availing of their services online, there is an increasing necessity for reliable and legitimate ways to verify customers’ identities. Most institutions rely on identity verification services to do so.
While most of these companies are efficient, cyber security experts worry that they have access to too much personal information. Therefore, in case of a breach, the consequences would be dire. While it may be inevitable to use their services, keep in mind the risk of a data breach that is associated with using them.
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