The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reported law firm losses exceeding £700,000 in the opening half of 2019, attributing them to identity theft and the use of impersonation tactics.
The consistent threat of identity fraud is omnipresent – criminal networks are getting more and more sophisticated.
The only, and best, way to stay ahead of the fraudster is by having access to up-to-date and real time technology and data.
This is where a good identity document validation platform is the best type of armour.
The UK Government’s guide on document validation software and hardware states that electronic scanning “provides a quick and easy way to establish the authenticity of documents presented for identity verification purposes. Scanners can play an important role in supporting front line staff to screen out counterfeit documents.”
Identity scanning technology has rapidly taken a primary role in detecting forged identity documents across many industries.
HR departments and security managers within the NHS, Government bodies, academic institutions and many private-sector employers are reducing costs and time by using this technology.
For the legal sector the importance of ensuring you are acting for a client who is who they say they are is of upmost importance when complying with AML and KYC regulations and creating effective due diligence processes for onboarding new clients.
Facial recognition identity document validation systems use an identity document, such as a photo driving licence or a passport.
They then analyse the image and embedded security features, including, where applicable, the RFID chip (the one in your passport), and then compare it to data captured by the OCR (optical character recognition).
In some cases, both national and global databases are used to confirm if the document presented is genuine or not.
This technology is without doubt incredibly effective when you compare it with a basic visual inspection.
To expect a member of staff in a busy law firm to be able to manually recognise fraudulent identity documents is a stretch, and even with significant training would never be as accurate as using digital checking technology.
Any business is defined by their first touch points with a new customer. You need to act and act quickly. The average onboarding of a client within the legal industry is anything up to 3 weeks before any work can even start on a matter file.
By using facial recognition ID technology speed really can be the essence of your offering. Facial recognition identity verification software can process an identity document and deliver the results in a matter of seconds, potentially delivering thousands of results a day.
According to Credas, a manual ID check can take up to 2.5 hours.
For any new client in legal setting, having the ability to do this and get things moving on their home purchase/sale, their probate matter or any other legal interaction will no doubt put any firm offering this service ahead of the rest.
Facial recognition ID technology provides an easy, quick and cost-effective way to ensure law firms are complying with 5MLD.
It provides a quick solution to ensuring matter files start with all that is required for both CDD (client due diligence) and EDD (enhanced due diligence).
Meet the requirements of AML and improve your KYC process in an easy click to comply.
Having a facial recognition ID verification process in place, asking your staff to have expertise in recognising fraudulent documents falls away completely and removes human error entirely.
Having sophisticated software as part of your KYC processes ensures that there is consistency and knowing whether an identity document is true or false is absolutely key to your CDD and EDD.
There’s also the question of fairness – scanning systems will check everyone in a consistently non-discriminatory manner. Sadly, there is always the risk of a human element of prejudice creeping in o manual decisions when an applicant appears to be different from ‘the norm’.
Digital ID checks, which are an inclusive part of your onboarding processes, will save money and time.
Doing away with postage, travel costs and time for clients, photocopying and printing expenses, the initial outlay for the software needed is far outweighed by the overall savings.
“As fraud becomes increasingly sophisticated, digital identity checks can play a vital role in protecting both conveyancing firms and clients from identity theft and related scams.”
Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)