Voice of the Industry

Establishing trust online during COVID-19 and beyond

Wednesday 15 July 2020 08:17 CET | Editor: Anda Kania | Voice of the industry

Jose Caldera of Acuant reveals the emerging threats the current pandemic may bring, and ways we can keep the online environment a safe and trusted place for identity-based transactions

We have all experienced changes to the way we conduct transactions during the global pandemic. COVID-19 forced all industries to offer remote transactions in a matter of weeks. Almost anything that can be done remotely has been quickly reconfigured to do so, including massive enterprises shifting to work-from-home models for business continuity. Although many industries and businesses have made this shift successfully, there is always room for improvement and always emerging threats. It is clear that remote transactions are here to stay, so how can we make them better? Ask yourself how much you trust the person at the other end of the transaction?

Fraud, identities and trust

Data from Acuant partner Transunion shows that there has been an increase in fraud during COVID-19. There are also FBI warnings of healthcare fraud and other threats that have risen. 

This is on top of the already present increase in stolen identitiessynthetic identities  and payments fraud across the board.

The one thing that ties all of these fraud cases is the inability of establishing with certainty the identity of the person on the other end of the online activity. All risk mitigation strategies are based on how much we (can) know or assume about the identity. The higher the risk the higher the need to know more, and higher the need for certainty that what we know and learn about an identity is accurate.

But knowing with certainty the identity doesn’t necessarily imply trust. How many of the people you know would you entrust with the safety of your family? It is a simple concept but really hard to attain. So how does the knowledge of an identity relate to trust?

For most of us, there is an inherent trust placed in law enforcement. So when we build risk mitigation strategies we want to know as much of the identity on the other end. It reduces fraudsters capabilities to hide their true identity and if their identity were revealed, we trust law enforcement to do their job.

We are more exposed

More online activities exacerbate the ability of fraudsters and nefarious actors to use more stolen identities or fake identities faster, hence the need for better technologies and processes to clearly identify who is in the other end of the transaction.

In the finance industry, bank branches were forced to close their storefronts and conduct business online. Even with the recent opening of some banks, it is likely most customers will want to transact online and via mobile apps for as many workflows as possible, like opening an account, applying for loan or conducting money transfers. How do these institutions easily stay compliant in the remote world while thwarting the growing fraud?

Younger, tech-savvy consumers, particularly working parents, were already opting for ecommerce driven options like click-and-collect curbside pick-up or same-day grocery delivery. Now, ecommerce and shared economies models are growing even at a faster rate than before, demonstrating an increasing propensity toward less human interaction to meet customer expectations for efficiency and safety. Many grocery retailers and restaurants now deliver regulated goods such as alcohol. How do they avoid being targets of fraud that can lead to hefty fines?

Automated solutions for identity proofing and compliance are the answer

Automated identity verification technology can authenticate identities with reasonable certainty. Acuant’s Trusted Identity Platform offers a solution for every industry to verify identities, perform accurate onboarding, address risk and comply with regulatory requirements such as KYC (AML), PSD2, CPPA, COPPA, and many others.  Automated identity verification solutions allow businesses and institutions to improve operational efficiency, security and the customer experience while fighting fraud. Improved customer experiences will translate into increased customer loyalty and stronger bottom line results.

Making every effort to understand the identity of the person at the other end of a transaction is a very reasonable step towards establishing trust – you trust that fraudsters are hiding their true identities, and you trust that if a known identity commits fraud, law enforcement will do their job. The level of scrutiny will depend on the value of things you are trying to protect. I still want to know more than just the identity if I am going to entrust my family to someone, but for opening a bank account, filling my prescriptions, or getting food delivered to my house, I can trust that a well validated identity is good enough.

About Jose Caldera

Jose Caldera has been developing products for over 20 years. An entrepreneur at heart, his focus has always been on building Enterprise products for Digital Identities, detecting and preventing Financial Crime, Payment Security, Network Security and Application Security.


About Acuant

Acuant enables and enhances trusted transactions for all industries. Acuant’s Trusted Identity Platform provides complete identity verification, regulatory compliance and digital identity solutions leveraging AI and human assisted machine learning to deliver unparalleled accuracy and efficiency. Acuant Compliance (formerly IdentityMind) delivers automated and cost effective KYC, AML, transaction monitoring and sanctions screening.

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Keywords: Acuant, digital identity, COVID-19, security, fraud, identity verification, compliance
Categories: Fraud & Financial Crime
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Fraud & Financial Crime