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What is Identity Verification and How Does it Work?

What is Identity Verification and How Does it Work?
Jun 14, 2024 Rory Traynor Updated On: June 25, 2024

Identity verification is the process of confirming that an individual is who they say they are and even if their ID document is authentic. There are numerous methods used to do this, from manual to hi-tech.

Verifying customers identities is now a commonplace business process and there will be very few people who have not undergone the processes at one time or another.

Whilst it has existed in for decades, as technology available to business has advanced businesses can now easily and affordably deploy near foolproof identity verification (IDV) processes.

A significant driving force behind its mass adoption has been the introduction of regulations requiring businesses to confirm their customers identities, especially due to most governments increasingly hardline stance in the fight against money laundering; but IDV is also helping businesses protect themselves against the growing threat of fraud.

Far from making life more inconvenient, digital IDV processes have allowed a goods and services that were restricted to face to face processes to be offered instantly online. Allowing businesses to offer faster processes and sell to a much wider pool of customers.


What is IDV and EIDV?

IDV is the processes of confirming that a customer is who they are presenting themselves as being. IDV is a catch all term and covers any methods that are can be used, whether manual or digital.

Sometime you may see the term EIDV used. This means electronic identity verification and refers to any process that has a digital element. However, due to the almost ubiquitous use of technology IDV and EIDV are effectively now used interchangeably.

How does IDV work?

In its simplest form IDV can be described as the process of comparing an individual against an identity document.

Indeed, the manual process of IDV does exactly that, such as an alcohol vendor asking a customer to show their drivers license before a sale.

As most people will be able to attest, this is far from reliable and it is relatively easy for an underage person to purchase age-restricted goods. This is because manual processes do not confirm the validity of the document (which might be fake or contain a doctored photo) and are prone to human error.

EIDV processes are significantly more accurate, and when combined become virtually foolproof.

The three most common methods are:

Data verification – The process of running the information on an ID document against the official database it is linked to. In and of itself, this method can still be tricked as it merely confirms the information on the document is correct.

 For example, forgers often create fake documents that use a real persons information but their clients photo. In this case, it would be up to a manual process to detect that the document was fake.

Image verification – The next step in building an ironclad IDV process. This is a digital analysis of the picture on the document to the individual being checked.

To do this a photo is taken of the ID document and the person being checked takes a selfie, and sometimes also performs a liveness check. The IDV software then analyses hundreds of data points on each photo and confirms they are match.

Some ID documents will be linked to databases that also contain a copy of their photograph, for example all biometric passports have this. In these cases, processes that include both of these steps are virtually unbeatable.

But these two processes are still vulnerable to good forged documents who’s databases do not include photographic data, such as most countries driving license databases.

Document verification – This method confirms that the document itself is genuine. As in the previous step a photo is taken but this time of the document. The software then analyses if the document is genuine or forged. Thanks to modern technology imperceptible flaws can be spotted and features such as holograms and microchips can be confirmed as genuine on modern phone cameras.

Rock solid IDV with Red Flag Alert

At Red Flag Alert we know how important protecting your business is. That’s why our full digital AML & IDV platform performs all the EIDV processes listed above and we even run all our checks against multiple data bureaus, to ensure we always provide you with the most accurate information.

Our fully digital checks analyse hundreds of data points, include selfie and liveness check, and accept 16,000 different types of documents.

Don’t leave your company at risk, speak to us today.


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