Alright, for this article, I will start with a couple of examples straight out from the mind of Stephen King. Just kidding, I wish I could say these are made-up by a famous horror story writer, but I’m pretty sure that even Stephen King would be horrified if faced with such situations.
As a founder or operator of a sharing or gig economy app, you are no stranger to the importance of a verified identity layer and the horrors that can come from its absence. Whether you’re a veteran or new to this space, we’re guessing the Black Mirror style stories we’ve outlined below are all too familiar.
The happy ending? These stories don’t have to be this dark; and most are entirely preventable. Read on to find out how you can change the arc of these narratives for your business and end-users:
When A Stranger Comes Knocking… With A Fake ID
Let’s begin with a story about home rental apps. Last year in 2019, at the Texas Apartment Association Education Conference, an exercise was put into motion. “Raise your hand if you have ever been a victim of fraud,” asked the host, in response to which 80% of the attendees raised their hands. This wasn’t surprising for anyone present and even inspired rental platform founders in attendance to share all too familiar stories of unqualified and dangerous people scamming their way into apartments and family complexes with falsified information and paid-for Fake IDs.
“Identity thieves are looking for an opening, just a spot to get in,” said Carlton, an attorney for Jerry L. Carlton, Glast, Phillips & Murray, PC. “Once they get in, it’s misery for you because you don’t really know who it is you welcomed into your house.” Could anything be worse than letting an untrustworthy stranger into your home, your most private spaces, you ask? Not many, but perhaps letting one into your heart is right up there. You probably know where I’m heading with this..
If You Want To Be My Lover, You Better Have Your Identity Checked:
As you know, online dating apps have exploded in the past few years. Unfortunately, these apps and websites have also quickly become breeding for scammers, sexual predators, and even murderers (terrifying, but sadly true). Just as everyone knows someone that met their soulmate on a dating app, we all also know of someone that has been scammed or ‘catfished’ on these apps. The fact of the matter is, dating apps are not going away, they’re here to stay. So how can we stop the negative stories from becoming normalized and let people focus on their search for a romantic partner without fear or hesitation?
Without fortifying sign-up processes, these incidents will only become more rampant. According to the UK’s National Police Chiefs’ Council, the number of recorded sexual offenses involving online dating apps has doubled in the last four years. And if this wasn’t bad enough, FBI data has shown that catfishing and romance scams have cost US and Canadian victims close to $1bn between 2016 to 2019. This figure is even more alarming when put in context: more money had been lost in romance scams than any other type of fraud in North America according to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports.
Outside home life and dating love, where else are people most vulnerable? Read on for our last and final stop on this rollercoaster..
Riding Safely Takes More Than A Seatbelt
You may have had your fill of these stories, but we couldn’t do right by our readers without mentioning the ride-sharing industry (last one, I promise!). Many of us can’t imagine a world in which getting from point A to B takes more than a few clicks of our smartphone keys. But even the massive convenience of ride-sharing can’t dwarf the dark side of this industry. Kidnapping or robbing of riders is becoming increasingly prevalent, with fraudsters using fake identities to register with your ride-sharing company.
Once they get a foot in the door, they act poorly with customers, harming your company’s reputation with riders and the success of your service offering in that region longer term. This type of damaging behavior isn’t limited to the driver community. Riders too, commit fraudulent activities, from stealing vehicles they request, to mugging their drivers, and even submitting untrue reports against drivers for refunds and free rides.
We’ve talked about rental platforms, dating apps and ride-sharing industries, but countless other types of gig and sharing economy apps can become a victim of these stories. The use cases are wide and varied, but all come down to a single foundation that if done correctly, builds trust and reduces these types of incidents: the ability to correctly verify the identity of your users.
Automated Identity Verification, here to your rescue.
With these three simple words, we hope to start chipping away at your fears and paving the way for happier story plots: Automated Identity Verification.
The most sure-fire way to significantly reduce the number of incidents in your platform is to improve your app’s digital identity verification (IDV). A solid IDV solution has great signalling power: it provides your users with a sense of protection and confers a better reputation on your business, all while ensuring a seamless onboarding process for users signing up to use your platform. By using biometrics, document reading, watchlists checks, and even governmental database checks, automated IDV can help you verify users in real-time, without hurting their experience at sign-up. For you, this means two things: first, you’re adding a layer of security to your apps by better protecting your users; and second, you’re also protecting your company from enabling harmful criminal activities and being involved in hurtful scandals.
Mati has helped a number of sharing and gig companies experience these benefits from implementing our automated IDV solution. To learn more, reach out to our Identity Verification specialists and read about our client’s experience with our solution.