John Chambers, the former CEO J of CISCO is credited with a famous quote that says “there are only two types of companies: those that have been hacked and those that will be,” which in a way highlights the importance of the work done by IDcheck Limited, premier specialists in cloud-based, automated Biometric Identity Screening, Fraud Detection, and KYC-AML.
Expecting cyber-threats and building firewalls are no doubt a great way to ward off contingencies which for most organizations, big or small, come from faceless, unidentifiable external agencies, who exploit loop-holes in the firewalls and security systems to gain unauthorised accesses.
Obviating such an occurrence would be an entity that while taking decisive action does so proactively due to the very nature of its services. IDcheck is one such organization. Where it differs from others in the field, is through its industry-specific products range and competencies, helping organizations irrespective of size, scope, and activity to perform and stay safe at all times.
Exhibiting Unparalleled Excellence
The company’s speciality in particular is in authenticating global identity documents using advanced AI and OCR techniques and proprietary facial recognition like frictionless liveness and motion detection algorithms. The latter by themselves are world-class products. With only a handful of professionals possessing the skills to detect fake IDs, their entry into the field could not have been at a more opportune moment.
One of IDcheck’s biggest successes has been with OpenBanking in Europe which facilitates low-cost, real-time online payments, as well as real-time access to historical transaction data, such as past rental payments and income. IDcheck’s pre-viewing screening, including biometric ID checks, help rule out unsuitable tenants. Pre-Viewing Screening is an excellent way for agents to avoid wasting time, by checking in advance for missing or late payments and to rule out anyone who clearly lacks income. Once an offer is made, full screening is performed to obtain automated landlord and guarantor references, as well as credit, criminal and sanctions reports.
With phishing and push-app fraud becoming endemic to transactions over the net, IDcheck’s innovative service offers invoice payments routed through its industry-specific portals, such as property management, logistics or e-commerce. Hacking of biller systems or payment invoices, attached to emails before they reach their intended recipients, could now be a thing of the past. A Key-Based 2-Factor Authentication login lets only genuine invoices get uploaded on to their portal. In Europe invoice payments are real-time, while in the US and Canada flat-fee online payments are offered via ACH.
IDcheck’s Letting portal is another innovative service. An in-house, cloud-based solution, they remain the only providers to have automated landlord, employment, and guarantor references. It additionally offers both Realtors and Tenants their own automated portals with real-time access to view, edit and delete proprietary information therein. Data transfer too takes place fast. Be it importing details relating to properties, clients, offices etc. or exporting out details relating to offers, everything gets done in under a minute.
The service also offers real-time access to screening progression and automated notifications. To obviate the occurrence of fraud at their end, as a matter of policy, controls include a “sign-off” before new clients are added. In the absence of this step, there remains every possibility of rogue employees setting up fake clients with fake properties to siphon off cash. Business Intelligence under this service provides real-time reports on total/average revenues, time to rent, renewals and can be filtered by elements including clients, cities, offices, and regions.
Contributing to their success have been their services which include
- Secure key-based 2-factor authentication where the PIN is never stored or transmitted which makes it hack-proof as against SMS based ones where SMSs can be intercepted through social engineering. Where the registered device is lost or stolen, the PIN would automatically fail after a select number of incorrect attempts. To increase security further, the PIN is always entered through a special keypad which makes it impossible for keyloggers to detect or copy the PIN.
- On-Line Biometric Identity Screening that in less than 10 seconds ensures that the person being screened is not a fake. Using Liveness Checks, users show different facial angles for the software to capture selfies to ensure that the image being captured is of a real person and not a photograph being held before the webcam. Images thus taken are compared with those on official identity documents (Electronic Passport, Identity/Resident Card or Driving Licence) to verify the person’s identity. Another innovation is the “Data Extraction” where data from identity documents is extracted using OCR and compared with Machine Readable Zones and Bar Code data to ensure data and checksums are accurate.
- Automated checks against global sanctions/watchlists, covering the UN, UK, USA Canada, and Switzerland
- Automated credit, insolvency, and barred director checks
- Automated Proof of Address, Savings and Wealth
Always on Top
What differentiates IDcheck from others in the industry is that they build industry-specific automated portals to manage entire business flows such as automated employment and tenant screening systems with biometric identity screening. Their portals have strict access management permissions and internal controls, as well as business-related intelligence, a full audit trail and multiple measures to detect internal and external fraud.
The test of integrity of any service is the grind it goes through to prove its worth. The harder the grind, the more the chance of failure. Products that come out unscathed, are then judged a winner. For IDcheck and its products, the grind came about during the Covid-19 pandemic. Being a system that is entirely cloud-based, there was no such thing as downtime given that staff already work remotely. The business decision to build all products internally also showed its true value as they were not tied into fixed minimum fees with external suppliers.
An interesting departure that IDcheck has over its competition is in the area of billing and receivables. Using a mix of pay-as-you-go, annual contracts and monthly pre-payment, there is as such no minimum monthly fee or licence fee. Quite to the contrary, unused units are rolled over and used in the next cycle.
To stay ahead of competition, IDCheck has always been an early adherent of AI and ML, its subset. These, according to the company, see liberal usage in their products and have unique features including pattern recognition, differentiating fakes, facial recognition across races, ages, genders, and facial features.
Additionally, on the cards is a comprehensive property management solution with the facility for online payments, invoicing and industry-specific accounting (GL, AP, AR), tenant leads, contract progression, e-signing, maintenance orders and handling, as well as automated compliance.
An Epitome of Proficient Leadership
An organization remains a reflection of its leader’s worth. For IDcheck, it could not have been anyone but Sara Statman, the founder and CEO. An MSc Computer Science graduate from the Imperial College with an Honours Degree in Economics, Sara has over two decades of Buy-Sell Side experience, largely front office across Tier1 Banks, Hedge Funds, Brokers, and Investment Advisors. She later moved into Risk, Governance, Controls, Regulatory Compliance and Market Surveillance. She also served as Vice-President of The Hedge Fund Association.
Her diverse experience and expertise helped her accomplish volumes at IDcheck where her responsibilities today include corporate strategy, program management, devising and documenting business requirements, hiring and managing teams and reviewing code.
IDCheck being her baby in every way, Sara envisages its future as facilitating clients conducting business securely even when doing so remotely and gaining operational and strategic efficiencies by automating standardised processes.
In passing, she has pertinent advice for aspiring software developers who she says should ensure they have ‘full stack’ skills and experience of key frameworks with respect to languages and also standard security provisions. To those working in AI, she urges being competent in Python, as well as other AI libraries and probably Django as well. She also recommends decent knowledge of Linux and Docker. For aspiring entrepreneurs, her words of advice include being creative to come up with good ideas, careful planning, budgeting, and risk management, and most of all, finding, leading, and motivating the right team.