Have you ever wondered, does your identity cost anything on the internet?
The short answer is yes, it does.
We've all seen those enticing advertisements online offering us “free money” we can earn from home, and it's simple to receive our $50, $100, or even $150... but only if we compromise a couple of minutes of our time. Initially, you'll be asked to join their service after getting a referral link. Then, you'll be required to submit a few documents to get your money after submitting all of your ID information
No matter how enticing the offers are, it is crucial to remember golden rule of the Internet: if it's too good to be true, it likely is.
Essentially, those services are buying personal identification documents, and fraudsters' interest in gaining those types of documents continue to escalate. That’s why they are willing to pay money for personal records.
There are many ways that fraudsters can use this collected personal information online.
The reality is: your identity can be sold.
Identity proofing and age verification is necessary for any organization that is handling personal information online, whether it be a bank, an online retailer, or any other type of business.
What is identity proofing and age verification?
Identity proofing: Identity proofing is the process of verifying an individual's identity by validating the personal information provided by them. The goal of identity proofing is to establish that the individual is who they claim to be and to prevent fraud.
ID proofing typically involves the collection of personal information such as name, date of birth, social security number, and address, as well as the use of various authentication methods such as knowledge-based authentication (KBA), biometrics, or multi-factor authentication (MFA). The collected information is then verified against trusted data sources to establish the individual's identity.
Many organizations require identity proofing as a mandatory process to authenticate customers for account creation, access to sensitive information or services, and financial transactions. Organizations such as banks, credit card companies, schools, and government agencies optimize these services and methods.
Age verification: Age verification is the process of verifying an individual's age to ensure they are legally allowed to access age-restricted content or services. Age verification is typically used in contexts where access to certain content or services is limited to individuals who meet a minimum age requirement, such as alcohol, tobacco, or adult content.
Age verification may involve collecting personal information from the individual such as their name, date of birth, or government-issued identification number. This information is then checked against trusted data sources to verify the individual's age. Age verification is important in preventing minors from accessing age-restricted content or services, which may be harmful or inappropriate for their age group. This verification is also required by law in many countries for certain types of age-restricted content or services.
The process of identity proofing and age verification
The first step in identity verification is to collect personal information from the customer, such as name, address, date of birth, etc.
Then, the service provider will check this information with a third-party database or government agency to verify it. If there is no match found, then the process of identification will continue by asking for more information, such as a passport or driver's license.
The second step in age verification is to ask for some form of ID that can be used to verify that person's date of birth, such as a passport or driver's license.
Some services require an additional form of ID, like a credit card number or social security number, which can be used to verify someone’s identity and age simultaneously.
Why age verification matters for e-commerce
Whether you sell in-person or online, those selling age-restricted products need to find a simple, effective solution to verify customer age.
Many companies make the mistake of doing too little due diligence, repelling digital native consumers who have high security expectations. You need secure age verification software that works for you and takes data security seriously. Identomat can help you customize a compliant website with automated digital identity features for a trusted and seamless user experience.
Why your age verification solution matters
If your online store sells age-restricted products, you must verify your customers' ages to:
In a post-pandemic world, delivery and takeout options are more popular than ever.
Online alcohol sales are booming and estimated to grow into a $45.5 billion market by 2024. (IWSR, International Wines and Spirits Record)
Trends show that customers are not loyal to one delivery app or website, that they are willing to try different services if they are inconvenienced by one. The best way to retain customers is by having a flawless user experience, by having the perfect balance of due diligence and customer experience. You'd never want to frustrate your clients, and the easiest, most effective way to verify someone's age is online age verification software.
Not only does Identomat's software ask a buyer for their identifiable information, our age verification includes a selfie match, using biometrics and facial matching to ensure that a transaction is legal.
Of course, alcohol isn't the only age-related product that could benefit from age verification.
What other products are age-restricted in the US?
Any seller that provides access to age-gated activities or delivers services that require adult consent must be able to verify their customer's ages, including the following markets:
What happens if you sell to someone underage
Making sure you do not sell age restricted goods and services to individuals under the minimum legal age falls under your responsibility.
If you sell age-restrictive products to someone under the legal age, your business may be subject to fines, lawsuits, prison time and the potential loss of license.
It is no surprise to American teenagers and young adults that the legal drinking age is 21, and that you must be the legal age to possess, buy or drink alcohol.
However, delivery apps have made it easy for underage people to order alcohol online and have it simply left on their front door
A study conducted by the University of North Carolina demonstrated the necessity of stronger online ID verification on websites and apps. Underage study participants successfully purchased alcohol on 45 out of the 100 attempts. They didn't use fake IDs, and provided their real ID's when it was requested of them.
Punishment for selling to those underage varies state-to-state but a misdemeanor conviction for supplying alcohol to an underage person can result in fines up to $5,000. Felony fines are expected to be much higher and can exceed $50,000.
Follow a 'card hard' policy in-person and on online stores, to avoid the possibility of making a mistake by adopting an end-to-end verification software that youths and their fake IDs won't be able to cheat. The consequences of selling to those underage could be Super Bad.
Tobacco and ENDS products
It is no secret that tobacco and E-Cigarettes, vapes, and other electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products are prohibited until the age of 18.
Currently there are 34 state laws, 2 federal laws, and 4 federal agreements to curtail the sale of tobacco to underage youth. While underage use of tobacco has lowered in recent years, there's been a dramatic increase in ENDS products getting into their hands. Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most used tobacco product among U.S. youth.
More than 0 million youth reported e-cigarette use in 2022 (CDC)
Fines for selling tobacco products without proper authorization can escalate up to $1,000, but in some states, selling to a minor is a misdemeanor offense. Punishments can include up to one year in jail time and having a business license revoked.
Sales to those underage can cost cannabis dispensaries the reputation and the credibility that they have long fought for.
With growing demand for recreational and medical use, and with the looming potential of federal regulation, it is imperative for the whole cannabis industry to follow strict age confirmation protocols.
Typically licensed dispensaries require their customers to present an official form of ID to confirm their age, but even the best trained store clerk could make a mistake a fake ID for a legitimate one.
When underage folks get their hands on cannabis products, the illegal purchaser and the dispensary could be held liable. Punishments include fines, incarceration, and finally suspension or revocation of their operating licenses.
Age gates aren't enough to prevent minors from obtaining products from legal online vendors. Considering that ineffective screening could set back the legalization progress achieved in recent years, it's important to weed out the frauds. To avoid fines, fees, and jail time, take the necessary security measures that ensures that you are interacting with legitimate people who are of the legal age.
Gambling is a highly regulated industry, restricted to adults of 18 or 21 years of age and older. From purchasing a lottery ticket to sports betting to playing a mobile poker game, you need to be certain that a gambler is of legal age.
The Tech Transparency Project reports that kids as young as 11 are getting addicted to online gambling.
With children and young adults becoming the largest age group addicted to gambling, it is important to ensure that all your players are indeed of legal age. While gambling laws vary widely state-to-state, there are serious professional and criminal repercussions for a gambling crimes conviction.
With Identomat's spoof-proof KYC, those underage will fail to use another ID or profile picture while gambling online. Biometric technology is the safest way to ensure that your clients are who they say they are.
US online gambling market expected to expand by 0%/yr
Considering the rising popularity of remote gambling, it is imperative to have a remote KYC solution in place, guaranteeing that you aren't violating any state or federal laws.
Guns and firearms
Knowingly selling a firearm or ammunition to any person under the age of 18 will result in harsh repercussions, and for good reason.
In 2020, the CDC announced that guns became the leading cause of death among children and teens. Although it is perfectly legal for minors to possess a handgun temporarily, with written consent from a parent or guardian, it is still illegal for them to purchase a weapon themselves until their eighteenth birthday, depending on the type of gun.
In the years from 2015 to 2019, adolescents reported carrying a handgun at a rate 41 percent higher than in the period between 2002 and 2006 (American Academy of Pediatrics).
Any guns that are purchased online must be shipped to a federal firearm licensee (FFL) who can transfer the ownership after fulfilling background checks and other state-based regulations. The counter-based pickup service can greatly benefit from KYC software, ensuring that the person and all of their documents, permits, and licenses are legitimate and that you are placing the weapon in the hands of a responsible gun owner.
Make the remote sale of legal weapons as safe and secure as possible by integrating AI-generated KYC into your sales routine.
Tactics that don't work
In today’s connected society, where there are no borders or boundaries on social media, consumers can access almost anything online. Anyone can purchase age-restricted content and products.
This is when age and identity verification software come in handy.
Age gates aren't enough anymore. Most of the time, the birthdate provided in an age gate on a website isn't verified. Children of any age can bypass them by simply lying about their age.
All it takes is seconds and one little lie to surpass the pop-up.
A study conducted by Texas A&M University found that the use of age gates on alcohol websites often enabled multiple attempts for users, allowing them to enter as many DOBs before they eventually gained access to the site. Not meeting up to compliance standards at all.
In 2019, the FDA clearly stated that they will be prioritizing enforcement of tobacco products. While you need employees to follow your policies, biometric technology is the most reliable tactic to guard your reputation, especially when it comes to ecommerce.
Safeguard minors and prevent fake identities with ID proofing
It is impossible to cheat or spoof our end-to-end verification with false documentation, ensuring that you meet federal and state regulations.
Concurrently, consumers are demanding convenience during the shopping experience.
IWSR found that consumers valued reliability, an easy to use website, and quality products. Our biometric verification will expedite sales for only legitimate, legal customers, but will keep your age-restrictive goods out of the hands of those underage and of minors.
With these solutions, trust between online companies and customers increases. When companies ensure that their customers are authentic and are of-age when selling, their marketing, distributing products, services, and content will reach their intended, targeted audiences.
With identity proofing, along with protecting kids from inappropriate material and age-restricted products, your company can address the growing issue of identity fraud.
What you need for automated ID and age verifcation
Considering the serious state and federal standards, there is so much that can go wrong with online sales.
To be absolutely fool-proof, you need to adopt a cutting-edge KYC solution. With Identomat you can tailor our identity verification technology to fit your ecommerce site, improving your compliance standards. The software easily integrates into any system, and will ensure, with biometric certainty, that your customers are who they say they are, and that they are old enough to purchase your age-restrictive products.
Improve the user experience with remote identity and age verification while fiercely protecting your reputation with Identomat.