Stranger Danger: Why You Should Care About Verifying Identities in the Age of the Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy, which in broad terms is defined as an economic system in which assets or services are shared between individuals via the internet and especially mobile apps, has become a major way in which Millennials transact. This includes conducting transactions for business, travel, on-demand services and virtually all lifestyle-type offerings for goods and services. According to Pew Research, about 72% of Americans have tried at least one platform or service.

While the rise of sharing economy apps appears to have made many luxury services and chores more convenient and accessible, there is the question of security. Not every app emphasizes security and privacy. Many use social media as a way to verify users. These are merely connected to a Facebook or other social profile, which can be easily faked. Then there is the question of employee verification. With so many services that allow users to invite providers into their private homes, a private car or a private location – one has to ask the question, how is my safety being addressed? We need only refer to Uber to see how instances of assaults by drivers and passengers have made customers, especially women, warier of these services. And we have all heard a crazy story about an Airbnb person who would not leave or destroyed the house. Wouldn’t it bring some peace of mind to know your driver, houseguest, online date, make-up artist etc., has been verified and that you know this before they enter your life?

Seeing a picture and name of your driver or delivery person does not mean necessarily that this person has been verified. Not every sharing economy platform conducts background checks and only in the last few years has ID verification become more of a concern to even the major platforms like the aforementioned Uber who now continuously verifies driver identities.

It is important for businesses to continually update their security by verifying IDs and conducting background checks. In addition, educating customers about best practices will also help to protect privacy and prevent a negative experience.

While companies catch up on their security standards, here are some tips for customers using apps and services:

  1. Learn to Spot Fake Reviews

Don’t be fooled by stellar reviews. If there are only a handful of 5-star reviews, these could have been written by personal friends. Pick someone with hundreds of good reviews and be assured that this provider is giving a consistent, positive experience.

  1. Research Company Methods of ID Verification the Background Checks

Before using any service, do some research about what kind of identity verification they use for employees and users, as well as if background checks are conducted, general policies, and whether there are outstanding lawsuits against the company. Checks such as sex offender registries, DMV records, or taking social security number information are some basic tests of a trusted service.

  1. Change your Profile Pictures

As Sharing Economy platforms become more popular, they often become targets of ID theft and confidence schemes. A good way to avoid being conned is to use a new photo not attached to any other platform that might contain personal information such as LinkedIn or even Facebook.

  1. Think Before You Speak

Don’t talk to strangers about your plans. A handyman, housekeeper, or driver from an app doesn’t need to know where you’re going or how long you’ll be away. In addition, it might be a good idea to let close friends or family know whenever you are on the road, in someone else’s home, or have someone in your own home.

 

Sharing economy platforms and services must do more to protect customer privacy and security. Verifying IDs is a crucial step in establishing trust between customers and providers. Acuant’s ID Proofing Solutions allow businesses to capture accurate ID data, ensure IDs are valid and verify identities in seconds for secure mobile transactions.

Download our idScanGo mobile app in the app store for iOS and Android to see the process in action with your own ID and insurance card.

 

 

idscango trial

Biometrics Boom: Juniper Predicts 600M+ Mobile Devices will use Voice and Facial Recognition by 2021

 

Biometrics is one of the hottest security topics in 2017. Businesses are realizing they must supplement basic login credentials with much stronger authentication methods, such as fingerprint and facial recognition technologies. Juniper Research study, Mobile Biometrics: Consumer Markets, Opportunities & Forecasts 2016-2021, finds that biometric authentication is ready to move beyond fingerprints alone and use several different identifiers, including facial recognition and voiceprints.

The research notes that these methods will increase from being installed on an estimated 190 million mobile devices in 2016 to exceed 600 million devices by 2021. As biometric technology becomes more commonplace in the business environment and more accepted by consumers, industries can leverage it to ensure stronger identity security.

This will likely begin to transform security in a host of industries that are especially vulnerable to cyber-attacks. With the increase in popularity of mobile payments and mobile healthcare, the finance and healthcare industries in particular can benefit from using biometric technology to verify identities.

Here’s what to expect in 2017:

Consumers will Quickly Adopt Biometrics

When biometric technologies first rolled out, consumers were apprehensive and sometimes refused to use them.  However, this apprehension towards biometrics is being steadily broken down through consumerization. Technologies that were previously used only for official purposes are now available on the market for consumers to buy.

For example, in the US, the use and collection of fingerprints is often correlated with law enforcement, but Apple now allows users to unlock their devices through their fingerprints, which has helped break down the apprehension of using biometrics for everyday use. The use of selfies in general has allowed people to use photos in a variety of ways, and Facebook and Instagram have capitalized on that by using facial recognition. Biometric technologies that consumers once rejected have become the norm for many consumers, paving the way for much tighter security processes.

 

Companies will Seek to Build Stronger Authentication Continuums

As consumers embrace and adopt new technology, it’s beneficial for that technology to be more interconnected. Businesses are able to leverage this interconnected technology by using it throughout the enterprise or with their products. Utilizing biometric technology with their products, allows consumers to have a higher degree of customization and personalization. Further, an authentication continuum based on biometrics will result in a higher level of overall security, which is key for companies that prioritize robust security.

For example, just doing facial recognition by itself isn’t sufficient most of the time. Tying facial with identity, document authentication, other attributes and biometrics will build a stronger authentication continuum that will lead to a greater level of security.

With biometric technology continuously evolving and the increasing sophistication of hackers and identity thieves, the future of identity verification may more closely resemble science fiction than our current reality.