Assessing a Consumer’s Identity is Not as Simple as Reviewing a Document and Putting a Score on it.
The concepts of credit and fraud scores have been around for decades, and making an assessment seems like a very simple process. Unfortunately, if it were simple, then there would not be any confusion when a consumer and a business interact for the first time. Perhaps fraudsters could not take advantage of the system and there would be no need for this blog post.
However, assessing a consumer’s identity is a complicated process. It requires more than a simple score ranking from 1 to 10. Like any relationship, trust is built. It may be possible to build trust by gathering information about a person, asking them to confirm their identity, using technology to assess the information, or even a combination of the three. But where do you start?
Start with the Use Case
There are many ways to assemble a solution. Before putting the puzzle together, it's helpful to first determine the use case(s) for which identity assessment will be used. Is it for opening a new bank account, buying a new car, selling a phone or setting up new utilities? Each of these scenarios may require a different approach to piecing together the puzzle.
Leverage the Right Information
Once the use case is established, the next step is to leverage information that's available related to the consumer. This allows you to start developing a profile of the individual in which to make an assessment. Also, this requires the proper sequencing of those signals to be more confident in the outcome. For example, the quickest way to begin building a profile for a new account is to start with the consumers name and address. At the same time, a person's driver's license is where the car buying process typically starts. Much like putting a puzzle together, some people start with the edges, and others start on the inside. The challenge at this point is making sure there are enough pieces to complete the puzzle.
Find the Right Technology
The next step is to plug in the right products and solutions. This technology should help compile consumer information and / or help create an accurate profile of consumer that allows you to build trust in their identity. The technology should also include having the right analytical tools in place to measure success, as well as help predict how changes to certain data signals can be leading indicators of fraud. Some of the tools that can be used to evaluate a consumers identity include:
- Identity Verification
- Document Identification
- Device Fingerprinting
- Biometrics (Physical and Behavioral)
- Mobile Device Authentication
- Fraud Tools
Don’t Ignore the Consumer Experience
Finally, it's important to ensure consumers have not given up on the experience -- and left for the competition. If the consumer is asked to complete too much or the process is too cumbersome, they may abandon the process. It's important to treat the consumer like a friend and build two-way trust. Incorporating passive identity checks that don't require the consumer to provide additional information except when necessary can help cut down on friction. For example, if the trust in a person’s name, address, phone and device can be established via passive identity checks, asking the consumer for additional information to further prove they are who they say they are may not be necessary.
If there’s not enough trust or the use case requires something more like SSN or date of birth, then using a passive identity check coupled with the limited consumer data entry may be an effective means of building trust with the consumer while minimizing unwanted friction.
There are several different ways to put the puzzle together. Even after the solution is in place, there may still be trial and error to figure out how the puzzle pieces all fit together. Stay true to the use case, find the right technology and remember the consumer factor. If it still seems complicated, Equifax is here to assist. Learn about our digital authentication solution or contact Equifax today.