What We Learned at the K(NO)W Identity Conference: Part One

 

Identity is the New Currency, Biometrics is the New Black, Blockchain is Bringing Sexy Back (Maybe) & Spoiler Alert – Edward Snowden is Still Not an NSA Fan

The first annual KNOW Identity Conference was well attended last week in the nation’s capitol, bringing together industry leaders, organizations and individuals that are shaping the new currency: Identity. Industry topics included Biometrics, Blockchain, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Fraud Prevention and Verification with a central theme on growing security and privacy concerns (enter Ed Snowden). Dissenting viewpoints were heard, predictions made and concerns shared. One thing was clear – we all need to pay more attention to how we transact in the burgeoning digital economy, minding who we do business with and who we entrust with this precious commodity – our identity.

Part One: Edward Snowden

So what was Ed doing there (via video conference from Russia on the clearest bridge our team has ever seen), what did he have to say and how did he look you ask?

As you see from the photo Ed is holding up well, seeming not to age a bit and keeping his signature look. Whether you view him as a hero or convict, Snowden was a prime choice to speak on the topic of identity at K(NO)W. His thoughts in a nutshell: Identity is broken, there are no easy answers and we need to be concerned about privacy, acknowledging that as we address solutions for identity- we will have to address how privilege and access (rather lack thereof) to things like a smart phone play a role in shaping the future.

Snowden stated that what matters most for computer/digital networks is your name which is acknowledged via token, credential, or password. There is a critical point of knowing “this is me” in order to gain access & have a voice that everyone wanting to transact must satisfy. He said in our society, your identity is the token we have given you; all of your other identifiers must be granted from this token. For example, this token may be a government issued ID or social security number. Ed argued that even though this is our reality, popular and lawful are not the same as moral. He went on to state that we have a lot of top down laws- but should we? His view is that it does not have to be this way.

Snowden asked and answered: if identity did not exist, how would you do your business? We can survive in that world according to him. If we rewind 100 years this was the reality. His view is that we should be moving towards this instead of creating a world that is less free & less fair because fewer people are able to transact. He believes most transactions are legitimate and should not be restricted to the privileged and capable as this is a negative thing for free & open society.

Regarding privacy, Ed spoke about the infamous U.S. government phone surveillance program stating that an independent study found it to be illegal and stated it should end. The study found that there was no instance where knowledge of a threat found through this method of surveillance made a difference to the outcome, nor contributed to the outcome. It was found that anything positive could have been done via traditional means according to Snowden. His view: when surveillance increases, security decreases. Not obvious, he noted, but true. In a borderless network and economy, we need to be focused on preventative measures, not offensive, otherwise we leave ourselves open for exploitation.

Snowden acknowledged that some censoring is justified- i.e. Facebook censoring videos. He stated that you need some level of knowledge but you don’t need precise knowledge when it comes to verification. For example, certain industries may need to know you are old enough but not your exact age, or someone known to you vouches for an unknown identity and this happens again and again- this was the idea of a web of trust. The web of trust didn’t take off but the idea was that this is good enough to establish trust.

The idea of good enough has and is changing and requires a different consideration level to address the level of risk associated with transactions. It used to be that if someone was issued a passport by a government that was a sufficient level met for travel. We know today this doesn’t work and have watch lists and various other methods to screen travelers. Snowden is a fan of tech solutions that don’t make you present a bucket of verification when it’s not needed. For example, if you are online shopping, the digital economy should be like the cash economy he believes- with less friction – the verification standard should be good enough, allowing more access for people who may not have government issued identity documents. He feels you should not have to have this in order to interact with digital economy. Further, Ed argued that dumb criminals & terrorists get weeded out of the system very quickly, so relying on Know Your Customer (KYC) laws is not enough nor can government mandates safeguard us. He cautioned we should beware of what you truly need to collect for data because someone with access will abuse this at some point; it’s simply too tempting.

And let’s not forget the biggest headline of late (that does not include President Trump) – Snowden called it the greatest cyber security crisis in history. He was of course referring to the Wannacry virus and noted that this is the first time that the media is naming the NSA directly. His viewpoint is that hackers now have inertia and are using tools stolen from the NSA. The stockpiling of data that the NSA allows with vulnerability is happening around the world and creating ripe targets for hackers and organized criminal groups. He informed us that NSA cyber security spending is 90% dedicated to offensive operations and that this is a big mistake and a massive problem. He believes the attack could have been curbed if the U.S. government acted years ago– punctuating that sentiment saying “It’s hard being right.”  He went on the say the NSA has done a lot of harm to U.S.- but stated no one doubts their intention and good people often do bad things.  Interesting choice of words Ed.

While there may have been a lot of bleak talk at K(NO)W, there was also the ever-present message of hope and news of exciting new tech solutions in the works by many, including Acuant of course. Stay tuned for coverage of more hot topics from the conference!

 

Learn more about Acuant's special offer for K(NO)W 

Acuant and eLend Improve Retail Automotive Industry

Retail automotive can be considered the largest “broken industry” in the world, and companies are trying to innovate new solutions that simplify the process of purchasing a car. Anyone who has leased or purchased a new car has despaired at how long it takes to walk out of the dealership with the keys, even when you walk in knowing exactly what you want and how you want to finance it. Auto Trader estimates that consumers can spend 2 hours at the car dealership, and that’s if the buyer’s financing is already set up.

Dealers know that there is a lot of room for improvement in the speed, efficiency, and integration of their sales and financing processes: increasing customer satisfaction means more sales and higher profits. To increase efficiency, dealers have to start gathering and processing data at the initial point of contact. As soon as a potential customer walks into the dealership, reception needs to get that person into the sales queue and verify their license so they are ready for a test drive. Customers are understandably wary about handing their driver’s licenses to a salesperson. To prevent fraud and provide a transparent, relaxed experience, dealerships need a quick, systematic, and professional way to capture and verify ID information as early in the process as possible.

eLEND Solutions, an automotive technology company specializing in online and in-store credit and finance solutions, has incorporated Acuant’s identity verification and automated data entry solutions into its credit application products, thereby streamlining credit check and financing processes for auto dealerships. Acuant’s technology enables customer service representatives to quickly scan a potential customer’s ID card, verify their demographic information, check for history of fraud or other financial red flags, and automatically port all this information into a database. OCR scanning converts information captured from driver’s licenses, passports, and other government-issued IDs into text format, checks the information against DMV and other records, and auto populates applications the dealership uses for CRM, financing, and regulatory compliance.

Scanning and digitizing the data is more accurate than manual entry and reduces keystrokes, staff time, and customer waiting time. The Acuant solutions are cloud based and mobile ready; customer engagement can originate online or on the lot, and can be picked back up from any point if interrupted by the customer. Capturing quality, vetted data at the entry point carries through all back-end processes to positively impact everything from first handshake to final insurance certification.

Feeding verified information into integrated systems connects traditionally siloed processes, and the biggest slowdowns occur in the transition between Sales and F&I. Transforming the sales process to be “customer first” starts with efficient information capture and integration. Streamlining workflow, eliminating redundant processes, and speeding up the transition from Sales to F&I keeps the customer happy and willing to close the deal. With these data-driven tools, dealers can process more transactions per day.

The streamlined, efficient interactions impress customers and leave dealers free to focus on the finer points of customer service, eliminating some of the most painful aspects of the car buying experience- leading to increased Customer Satisfaction Index scores (CSI) and ultimately more sales.

 

 

Download the Acuant + eLEND Case Study Now

Enhance Hospitality Experiences with Identity Verification Solutions

A recent JD Power study showed that hotel guest satisfaction has plateaued as perks have become standard expectations. When picking and choosing exact specifications via an app is a better experience than getting to a hotel only to argue with a desk agent, it becomes clear why Millennials have such low engagement with the hospitality industry. It’s no wonder the hotel and rental car markets are being crowded by sharing economy businesses Airbnb and Uber.

As the hospitality industry shifts to accommodate customer preferences, influenced in part by the distinct priorities of the Millennial cohort, and more generally by all things digital—social media, smartphones, and apps for everything, the role identity verification becomes critical.

Scan-and-verify solutions such as desktop devices and mobile scanning apps that quickly capture and digitize all the information from a driver’s license, passport, or other identity card make for very customer friendly experiences. Accurate information is extremely valuable to big tech companies, but most hospitality companies aren’t taking advantage of even basic customer data.

The following are ways the hospitality industry can leverage customer data to promote a better experience and increase revenue:

Gain Customer Loyalty through Personalization

Millennials are hard to win over as brand ambassadors in the hospitality industry; a recent Gallup report found only 20% are fully engaged (sharing positive feelings or reviews for a brand) while 23% are actively disengaged (sharing poor reviews). Getting the right customer data is the key to increasing customer loyalty. Linking a scanned ID to a previous visit, amenities targeted toward their demographics, and keeping preferences on file for future visits can go a long way toward fostering brand loyalty.  

Create Opportunities to Upsell while Combatting Fraud

Disney’s Magic Bands are tracking devices that can tell employees to interact with a guest by name or event such as a birthday. Not every company has the computing power of Disney, but if you can seamlessly and reliably prove the validity of your guest’s identity and securely collect payment this creates a lot of opportunities to upsell experiences and products. Verifying identity and payment information against a database can also help reduce risk and fraud such as property damage or preventing false charges to a room.

Invest in a Seamless Experience

Looking ahead, biometric technology and identity verification will also help travel and hospitality companies build more seamless door-to-door systems, a traveler’s identity to their itinerary, baggage routing, transportation, and hotel arrangements are tracked so they can move seamlessly from point-to-point. This vision of travel is infinitely more appealing than slogging from one check-in desk to another, and starting over each time with data entry, payment, and paperwork. While these innovations may not become widely adopted for several years, companies that lay the groundwork now will be poised for competitive advantage.

By utilizing advanced identity capture and verification solutions, hotels, rental agencies, and tourist attractions can start delivering a relaxed, smooth-sailing experience as soon as customers walk in the door.

Customer-Friendly and Cost-Efficient Technology to Prevent eCommerce Fraud

Online fraud rose 15 percent between 2015 and 2016, and approximately $32 billion in costs associated with e-commerce fraud occurred in 2014. LexisNexis reported that 1.5 percent of retailers’ revenue is linked to fraudulent transactions. Continued data breaches also put online shoppers and retailers at risk. However, you can safeguard your eCommerce business from fraud by enhancing your existing security with easy to use, cost efficient technology tools.

How People Are Gaming the System

Before safeguarding your e-commerce operations, it’s important to understand how people are getting around security measures in the increasingly card not present (CNP) transactional environment. Some common ways eCommerce fraud occurs include:

Vulnerability in Mobile Devices and Infrastructures. Data breach occurs when vulnerabilities exist. Even the largest and most sophisticated businesses are vulnerable, as evidenced by headlines regarding Sony, Yahoo and retailers like eBay and Target. They can happen on almost any device, too, and with the rise in the use of mobile devices for both personal as well as business purposes, there has been an exponential growth in the number of well-organized cyber-crimes and independent hacks.

Account Takeover Fraud. Account takeover occurs when a fraudster uses a piece of stolen personal information to attempt to gain access to a private account. This does not have to be a social security number or PIN code – anything from an email address to a username, any identifier used in the validation process can work. As an example, a fraudster could use an email and login for any account and run that against services such as PayPal, eBay, Amazon and virtually any other mobile app – in minutes. Validated credentials can then be sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars on the Dark Web.

Chargebacks and Reversed Transactions. This form of “friendly fraud” happens more often than you think. More than 86 percent of chargebacks are estimated to be fraudulent. It makes it easy for customers to get a refund via their credit card companies by disputing charges while putting the burden on the e-retailer or business owner to prove that the charges are valid.

Identity Theft. While ushering in the EVM chip helps to reduce fraud in person, it doesn’t stop fraudsters from viewing the physical card number, recording it and using it online. Moreover, hackers can get personal data online from doxxing (the internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information) and can often link public information with bits of personal data, such as the last four digits of the social security number and the birth date and address from a voter’s registration database online.

Tech Solutions That Work

With the increase of card not present (CNP) and mobile transactions, the good news is that you can safeguard your online business with the right tech tools. Here are some quick and easy tech solutions to instantly prevent eCommerce fraud:

ID Verification via ID Authentication. Quick and easy ID capture can allow online retailers to validate an ID in seconds. Forensic tests can be performed in real time to ensure that the ID presented is authentic. Scanning the ID also allows retailers to get necessary information that is accurate to populate into your point-of-sales (POS) system and CRM. This allows for quick verification of customer data such as age and address to verify the sale of an alcohol wine club membership or other age or geographically restricted business. It also removes the inconvenience of manually entering in data, improving shopping cart abandonment rates.

Biometric Security Measures. Facial recognition match makes it easier and more user-friendly to verify identities and integrate with existing apps or systems. Customers can simply snap selfies to verify that they match the photo on their government issued ID from a webcam or mobile device. This extra step prevents fraudulent transactions by further binding a person to their identity.

By recognizing that there are quick and cost-effective tech solutions to manage online retail fraud, you can instantly reduce your risk and recognize good transactions while flagging bad ones. As a bonus, you get the added benefits of:

  • Verifying Age and Address
  • Clean CRM/Customer Database with Accurate Information
  • Fast and Friendly Customer Check-out Experience

See what verification tools are right for your business!

 

IMPROVING IDENTITY VERIFICATION SOLUTIONS IN FINANCIAL SERVICES

Despite advances in technology, such as the spread of credit cards with microchips, in 2016 more than 15 million Americans lost $16 billion as a result of identity theft.

Financial services is an area where identity verification is crucial. Financial institutions must ensure that customers are who they claim to be, but they also do not want to make the verification process very difficult and annoying for customers. Mistakenly giving a malicious actor access to a user’s bank account could result in devastating consequences. But what are customers willing to do and what should they do in order to have security? We know that today, answering a few questions and providing a password is easily hacked by sophisticated fraudsters.

Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to protect customers from fraud that are also user-friendly and fast.

Onboarding and New Account Creation

Bringing new customers on board needs to be quick and easy, but also secure in order to protect both institutions and customers. When a new bank account is opened, it’s the institution’s responsibility to verify the identity of the user. The bank must first verify that the given name and Social Security number match a real person, typically by contacting one of the three major credit bureaus. Next, the bank must verify that applicants are who they claim to be by asking questions about their personal history, such as cities or streets where the applicant has lived in the past.

Financial institutions in the U.S. also need to comply with applicable security regulations when opening new accounts. “Know Your Customer” (KYC) is a policy for businesses who need to verify the identity of their clients in order to prevent crimes such as fraud, identity theft, and money laundering. KYC programs begin by collecting and verifying information about customers and checking them against a list of known criminals. Higher-risk customers have additional information collected, and their activity is monitored for potential red flags.

All of these processes can be streamlined and automated by the intake and authentication of data from a government issued ID, like a driver’s license. Authentication solutions that scan an ID, on a desktop or mobile device, can verify a credential in seconds to validate it. This then allows the institution to match the verified credential to the person. You may do this visually at a bank, or through a mobile facial recognition app that will match the photo on the ID to a selfie taken.

Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is a trend that is set for explosive growth in the years to come. In 2015, KPMG estimated that the number of mobile banking users would double in the next 4 years to 1.8 billion people.

This rapid growth of mobile banking makes the identity verification process even more important. Traditionally, mobile banking customers have logged onto their accounts using a username and password. In the event that they forget this information, customers need to provide data such as their Social Security number or credit card, or answer “out-of-wallet” security questions.

However, in recent years, banks have explored alternate security measures, such as biometric security. For example, many banking apps now make use of fingerprint and facial recognition technologies. In addition, some financial institutions allow users to verify their identity using their voice when they call the company’s phone number.

It is possible today to open an account and conduct all your banking without ever stepping foot in a bank, but you want to make sure that your financial institution is taking proper security measures and all the better if they are fast and easy for customers!

 

How the Healthcare Industry Utilizes Identity Solutions

The healthcare industry has built up a reputation for lagging claims, mountains of paperwork, and a bureaucratic process that does more damage than good—but a lot of this negative feedback stems from poor patient and customer experience.

Take the management of patients, for example. This process is typically over encumbered by redundant forms and requests for information already on file somewhere in the system. The problem with trying to streamline patient registration or workflow has to do with poor record management and filing.

Identity solutions allow healthcare officials and institutions to improve the onboarding process by eliminating extraneous paperwork and their associated costs. It also goes beyond cutting down on paperwork. Identity solutions can help reduce labor costs, improve the flow of patient information and transactions, and reduce problems like claim rejections owed to wrong or missing information.

There’s an increasing number of ways identity solutions can be used to improve the quality and efficiency of service. As the healthcare system makes the gradual change from physical paper documents to electronic medical record (EMR) systems, the benefits—and incentives for adopting a more streamlined approach—are becoming clear.

Automating data capture during patient intake

Using card scanners such as MedicScan at the front desk of a doctor’s office or hospital allows patients to be processed in record time. Their information can be captured from an insurance card or ID, their EMR auto-populated, and their identity verified in a matter of moments. This saves time for all parties involved, particularly patients and employees. Streamlining the intake process boosts efficiency by drastically cutting down on potential for human error during intake, further reducing time spent on rejected insurance claims.

With reliable identity solutions in place, healthcare can cut labor costs and wasted time by eliminating hundreds of keystrokes per intake, which frees up resources and personnel that can be better allocated. Devoting those resources to better patient care creates a lasting impression that helps build credibility and a better reputation.

Protecting customers and the industry from fraud

Healthcare is a popular target for hackers and would-be fraudsters. Implementing stronger protection for physician portals and EMRs, and utilizing authenticating technologies easily diminishes the potential for identity theft.

When a patient’s identity and privacy are compromised, not only do they suffer financial fallout, but the industry has to deal with the fraudulent claims and any legal fees they incurred because of the initial theft. This can tarnish a business’s reputation and it’s critical to healthcare’s success to have a standardized, streamlined flow of patient information—one that includes identity safeguards.

Having the power to verify patient identity allows hospitals and other practices to confirm that any given record is accurate and up to date, and gives them the peace of mind to know that their patient data isn’t being used by malicious hackers or fraudsters. The healthcare industry uses identity solutions, in part, as a security measure. They can protect customer information from falling into the wrong hands, but also ensure that medical records and health data are accurate. Errors in patient data could jeopardize future treatments or healthcare financial limits.

Customers feel safer knowing their information is being protected and recorded accurately, which builds further trust between healthcare providers and their patients.

Creating a more mobile healthcare experience

Healthcare staff are no longer bound to desks and front offices when patient information can be effortlessly pulled up on a terminal or tablet. Providers can swipe or scan IDs, documents, and insurance cards wherever they are, which means no more running around for charts or files.

When doctors can recall patient information at a moment’s notice, it enhances the quality of their care, and their ability to interact with patients. This also applies to patient care in non-traditional settings, such as specialized pharmacy administration and home health care.

Enabling other forms of check-in and health care

Mobile identity solutions create a sense of self-sufficiency that many patients may prefer. With tablets or kiosk systems, they can handle their own registration and check-in. This is another contributing factor to lowering labor costs and improving the patient experience. Having self-service check-ins streamlines the registration process by further automating the input and recall of patient information.

These advances allow something like retail clinics to exist as well. With almost instantaneous data capture and recall, these providers can quickly process medical insurance information to make more time for seeing the patient and administering care.

Healthcare hasn’t completely adopted the current identity solutions available to the industry yet. As it does, it paves the way for a streamlined method of handling claims and patient care that reduces risk of fraud, identity theft, and lost time and revenue.