Why verifying and proving customers’ identities has never been more important for UK business

The level of identity theft has risen during the global pandemic with experts predicting that 1 in 4 people will have fallen victim in some way to fraudsters since February this year. It is thought that the transition to increased digital living and working from home has provided fraudsters with greater opportunities to con personal information out of consumers and that people that might not ordinarily haven fall victim to scams, have become more susceptible. 

It is no surprise, therefore, that the Government Digital Service and Cabinet Office has recently updated its information on identity verification. For organisations it is becoming increasingly important that they make sure their customers are who they say they are. This is important as there is a clear link between the rise in activities such as phishing and the number of bogus orders and applications made to companies by fraudsters. It is a well-known fact that in periods of recession incidences of fraud increase. And the current recession, according to the International Monetary Fund, will be far worse than the 2007-2009 Great Recession. The IMF recently said Asia Pacific is suffering its worst recession in living memory, and the UK is expected to stay in recession until at least next spring. The IMF has even gone so far as to claim the Great Lockdown may parallel the Great Depression.  

Global brands have already taken a massive hit. A recent survey from Brand Finance and the International Advertising Assocation estimates that $22 trillion has collectively been wiped off brand valuations since the start of the pandemic. This combined with the fact that last year identity theft in the UK cost over £190bn, which to put this in context is the same amout as the Chancellor's entire Coronavirus bail out package. It suggests that now really is the time for organisations to put measures into place to protect themselves against the fraudsters that are further undermining the already fragile economy.

Clear guidance from the Government on how to verify someone’s identity can be found here: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/identity-proofing-and-verification-of-an-individual/how-to-prove-and-verify-someones-identity