From loss of revenue to widespread layoffs, 2020 has been a tough year for both businesses and consumers as they reckon with the impacts of COVID-19. One of these challenges for both groups has involved navigating digital fraud schemes related to the pandemic.

Fortunately for businesses, TransUnion’s latest quarterly analysis of global online fraud trends found that fraudsters are targeting businesses less. Unfortunately for consumers (and ultimately, businesses), TransUnion’s recently conducted Consumer Financial Hardship studies showed that the number of consumers targeted by digital COVID-19 schemes has increased 10% from the beginning of the pandemic.

The latter research also found that of the consumers who have been targeted with digital COVID-19 schemes, 27% reported phishing as the number one global scam. This is why today’s consumers want to feel confident that their digital interactions are with legitimate businesses and organizations, ones that can defend against the impact of phishing and other forms of fraud. Businesses should therefore be offering friction-right identity verification, authentication and fraud prevention methods that are as seamless as they are secure, so that their consumers can transact with confidence.

Phishing in a pandemic

Phishing is a social engineering scam in which fraudsters contact consumers via phone or electronic means and claim to be from a legitimate organization. They request sensitive personal information under false pretenses, which they will then use to gain access to consumers’ accounts and resources. While phishing isn’t good news even in “normal” times, financial stresses and uncertainties already stemming from the pandemic could result in phishing and identity fraud having even greater impacts on vulnerable consumers.

“From the impacts of phishing and other well documented COVID-19 scams like unemployment fraud, it’s clear that fraudsters have the data and increasing opportunities to create synthetic identities and utilize stolen identities,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud & Identity Solutions at TransUnion, in a recent press release. “[Identity fraud] can have long-term impacts for consumers such as the compromise of multiple online accounts and bringing down credit scores, which we anticipate will increase during pandemic reconstruction.”

Combating identity fraud resulting from phishing is no simple task, especially with the increasing availability of synthetic identities through phishing attacks. And given the digital transformation businesses have had to undergo since the pandemic, it’s critical that the solutions they adopt not only stand up to sophisticated fraudster tactics, but enable them to secure trust in faceless channels with a seamless consumer experience.

Fighting fraud using Document Verification (and a selfie)

TransUnion’s Document Verification solution offers a modern approach to identity verification that supplements traditional authentication methods. Document Verification, part of TransUnion’s IDVision with iovation solution suite, helps businesses securely and accurately authenticate consumers’ government-issued documents via digital channels, by comparing the captured PII data against TransUnion’s robust credit and non-credit data.

Document Verification allows businesses to flag anomalies or fraud concerns within the consumer-provided data, can lead to an increase in conversions, and aims to make trust possible between businesses and consumers. This consumer-friendly verification is made possible by triangulating the document validity, device-associated risk, and the risk associated with the identity on the document.

So how does it work? Consumer information is submitted and verified in three steps:

  1. Capture: Using a mobile device or tablet camera, consumers securely capture and send images of their government-issued ID.
  2. Verification: Determine the authenticity of the captured document with the option to validate consumer PII against TU records.
  3. Match: Option to request a selfie from the consumer, using a facial recognition match with liveness detection.

Document Verification provides organizations additional confirmation of a consumer identity during account origination and subsequent high-risk transactions, and can be particularly useful as phishing and downstream identity fraud are on the rise.

To learn more about IDVision with iovation’s identity solutions and products, including Document Verification, click here.