Social distancing is changing the way your business can verify the identity of new customers.
Gathering proof of ID is an essential part of doing business particularly if you extend credit to customers. But in these days of social distancing, face to face verification of ID isn’t always possible. That brings potential risks.
Money laundering is big business for crims. Figures from the United Nations show that up to $US2 trillion is money laundered each year – the equivalent of 5% of global GDP. Moreover, rapid developments in financial information, technology and communication mean money can be moved anywhere in the world with greater speed and ease.
Crooks can also make a robust living out of identity theft. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, the direct and indirect costs of identity crime in Australia in 2015/16 were estimated to be $2.65 billion.
The upshot is that your business needs to take clear steps to ensure each new customer is who they say they are.
New ways to check ID during social distancing
AUSTRAC – Australia’s financial intelligence agency, has released guidelines for the finance sector to verify a customer’s ID during the Coronavirus outbreak. These can also be useful for small businesses to follow in these days of social distancing.
If you’re dealing with individuals, scanned copies or photos of personal documents can be requested. If the customer is not an individual but perhaps a company, various disclosure certificates may be used.
Additional verification can be provided through a video call using the likes of Skype, Zoom or FaceTime. This is an important step to double check that a customer physically matches the ID provided. Even a simple ‘selfie’ can let you compare scanned or photographed identification to the person you’re dealing with.
It may sound like a hassle, but the aim of these new measures is to protect all of us against attempts by criminals to profit from using false names or stolen identification.
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