Social Data: Revolutionising identity verification

Experian recently asked the question “will social data revolutionise identity verification?” Well, the answer is: it already is doing so.

The very clear benefit of using social data to verify ID is, as George ‘The Fraud Prevention Guru’ said, the sheer volume of it. As of 2016, there are over 1.65 billion Facebook users, and this number is increasing by the day. Every 60 seconds sees 3.3 million Facebook posts, 422,340 Tweets, and more than 55 thousand photos uploaded on Instagram. There is a huge amount of social data available, and many people have multiple social media accounts that are years old, something that is very hard to fake, and therefore can be incorporated into identity verification processes. Here we weigh in on the question on everyone's lips: Will social data revolutionise identity verification?

The benefits

The average internet user has over 90 online accounts, and ID checks are vital for online banking, accessing and creating telecoms accounts, and online shopping. Wouldn’t it be easier if there was a cross-channel solution? Well, that’s what social data can enable. Given that the average Briton spends around 9 hours per day staring at a screen, it is necessary for ID verification processes to catch up with efforts in other business areas. Using social data to verify identity offers consistency and familiarity to consumers across multiple accounts. Unnecessarily long and complicated ID checks, such as Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) like “what is your mortgage value?”, or “how much did you spend on your last phone bill” often results in incorrect answers because who can remember their mortgage details, and who pays that much attention to know their exact last phone bill? These inefficient methods often mean customers, particularly in banking and telecoms, end up having to go into branch and spend a significant amount of their little ‘free time’ finding proof of address and their passport, heading into town, queueing, and finally verifying their identity. Even consumers who order online shopping to store (be it clothes, food, electronics) have to remember to bring ID when they collect it, feeling disappointed when they forget and there is no alternative but to come back another time, driving licence in hand. This entire process is one that should take minutes, instead it often ends up costing more time and more money than necessary.

But what about fake social accounts?

Experian’s debate was a balanced one, with Penny ‘The Identity Verification Master’ answering "will social data revolutionise identity verification?" by challenging the view that social data can offer an alternative and better way to verify ID. Her argument revolved mostly around the ease of faking a social media account. If only there was a way to know if a connected social media account was one of a real person? Well there is. It might seem easy to create a fake social media account, yes, but the right social identity solution will use data such as the age of the account, the depth of data, how much they interact with other accounts, consistencies between that account and other connected accounts, as well as text analytics to further confirm that the account is genuine, and that the information they are giving is real. Our solution PROFILE ID enables businesses to offer a social connect option at sign up, registration, or log in to corroborate identity points including name, date of birth, and location and verify the genuineness of the connected accounts.

So, will social data revolutionise identity verification?

At present, over 60% of consumers choose social login when using mobile, and companies that offer social login see between 40 and 50% more registrations. Consumers already see the benefit (that it’s quick, easy and familiar), but as well as speeding up the application process by pre-filling forms, it also offers opportunities for consumers to receive personalised marketing and rewards, a tailored user journey, and, most importantly, an accessible and convenient way to verify ID online. These are huge incentives for more and more consumers to welcome social connect, minimising the need for in-person verification and the associated labour costs, benefitting both the business, and its customers. Say hello to the future of identity verification.



Author Ahmed Amin