ID verifications have become paramount to law firm online security, so much so that the governments are cracking down on organisations and conventional processes that fall short in protecting themselves and their clients.

The future of ID verification is remote, biometrically powered, verifications that utilise document fraudulency technology such as NFC reading or OCRing documents.

But as ID verifications become ‘online’ the reciprocal of this is that many scams and money-laundering tactics are using online methods. So how does ID verification help protect you online and help with online security?

Combating the evolving threat of ‘lookalike’ documents

Criminals are becoming more smarter and technologically savvy, so to combat a growing digital threat, law firms themselves must become digitally savvy to protect them and to increase their online security.

Take the example of a London/Kent gang in the UK. This gang was accused of supplying fake passports to their clients which included the likes of drug dealers, organised criminal gang members and many more nefarious individuals and groups. Those arrested are suspected of using paid “lookalikes” to obtain passports. These “lookalikes” were used to apply for legitimate passports, but using a criminal’s photo, rather than their own. The result being that a criminal was able to get a real passport that wasn’t theirs, but had you held it in your hand, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

This is just one example of identity fraud is becoming digital and harder to pick-up through older means of verifying clients. However, with a remote ID verification system that can verify the client using biometric technology and is also able to verify the document through NFC technology, law firms would be able to combat this type of fraud protecting themselves and their general online security.

Providing a real time ID verification

Tackling identity fraud has become a round-the-clock task. Fraudsters don’t sleep and they’re constantly thinking of ways of how they can work the system and slip through the net. With Fraudsters constantly trying to get through, speed becomes an important tool for the law firm when tackling money laundering or identity theft. Why?

Well think of it like this, solicitors have a duty to raise a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) if they determine there is something suspicious or fraudulent about the client. With a remote ID verification system, that can verify a client in seconds, you are able to determine whether to raise a SARs quicker than others thus having a more risk-based approach to each file. Not only this, but real time ID verifications also have the added benefit of helping your firm’s overall client experience because your ID verifications doesn’t become unnecessarily protracted and cumbersome for either the law firm or your client.

In general, anything that can be determined in real time will not only help your online security but will help most other processes too.

Staying compliant with AML regulations

Solicitors have a great deal of regulation compliance that needs to be considered on any normal day of working on client matters. Institutions such as the SRA, HMLR and the NCA are realising how fraud and fraudsters using technology for criminal purposes and how this puts law firms, clients, and client data at risk and therefore now issuing guidance for law firms to become more aware of the tools available to help protect online security.

What’s more is these institutions are becoming so aware of these issues that they have begun to move and create their own frameworks to tackle fraud and support online security. One of the major frameworks by HMLR is the Digital ID Standard for conveyancers. Conveyancing is a well-known high-risk area of law, because large amounts of client money is circulating and out of a law firm, fraudsters try harder in conveyancing to launder money, to the point where identity fraud has become a major issue.

HMLR has taken the unprecedented step of creating their Digital ID Standard meaning that conveyancers that follow the steps laid out in that frame can achieve “Safe Harbour” for their matter. But how does one comply with the Digital ID Standard? Well, it’s all about ID verification. Legitimately verifying your client, their document and proving ownership are core tenants of the framework and being able to verify these during the ID verification process is paramount for online security.

Reducing the risk of human error with consistency

Consistency in security is key. If you have a team of 25 people but only 5 are using a remote ID verification system designed to help with online security by tackling identity theft and money laundering, then 80% of your law firm is still at risk of letting through a nefarious individual who might be posing as someone else or wanting to launder money through your firm. So how do you protect you and your firm against this? Well simply put, by implementing an ID verification system that is firm wide and reduced the need for human input, therefore reducing any human error issues which might arise.

Consistency in online security cannot be overstated and as humans we have unfortunate ability to make mistakes and not be able to learn from them. However, AI identity technology doesn’t have this problem and in fact is designed to learn from errors thus becoming better and better over time. With less human work we have less of a chance of human error in the ID verification process thus making sure our online security is as secure as possible.

Remember, most hackings and fraud aren’t due to technology issues. It’s because of human error. So, the less we give ourselves the chance to make a mistake, the better we protect ourselves.

Understanding ID verification for law firms

Do you know what an ID verification is? Because if you did, then as a law firm you would immediately stop asking clients to come into the office to verify themselves and you’d drop that old ‘legacy’ electronic verification system where you manually input the data. The reasoning for these bold statements will become evident below, but ultimately it can be summed in the following sentence. The above two approaches DO NOT verify a client or their documents. Why? Well simply put would you be able to tell the difference between identical twins? Doubtful. What about if you could, what effect does ask for their passport and running it through an old electronic system have? What the pass or fail result it ‘spits’ out actually mean? Does it verify the actual client, does it verify their document? It does neither. The above reasons are just a few of why ID verifications, specifically remote ID verification system that use biometric and document fraudulency technology, are becoming more and more important in the fight against money laundering, identity theft and general criminal activity. So don’t compromise your online security with old, ‘legacy’ systems.