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Preventing Fraud

Identity verification: do you really know your customer?

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

We’re living in a complicated economy. Many large enterprises have hit a lull this year and have had to institute painful layoffs. But others have been attracting new business. Many of these booming companies have been tapping new vendors, either to keep up with demand for their products, to find service providers, or to add new sources of supply. Or a combination of all three.

Is yours one of these growing companies? If so, congratulations. Growth is a blessing. It also comes with worries. As an onboarding officer, risk manager, property manager, fraud investigator, or another upper-level position that includes involvement with or management of a customer due diligence (CDD) or a know-your-customer (KYC) program (your company may have a different name for it), you and your investigative staff do a great deal of that worrying.

That’s particularly true if you’re doing business internationally. You need to make sure that new customers, vendors, and other outside parties with whom your company works aren’t putting your company at risk financially or reputationally. There are regulations and requirements you need to meet to make sure you’re providing protection from that kind of harm. And your onboarding process needs to include thorough identity verification of the individuals and entities currently (or potentially) doing business with your organization.

A big reason why you worry: The costs of not knowing your customer or vendor can be very high.

Why Your Mission is Critical for Identity verification

Those costs can include millions of dollars in fines, as well as lost revenue. And those are only some of the direct effects. Then there are the costs to your company’s reputation if it’s discovered to be doing business, however inadvertently, with customers or vendors that have been linked with illicit activities such as embezzlement, money laundering, human trafficking, or terrorism financing.

In addition, of course, there could be customers and vendors that turn out to be unable or unwilling to pay their bills or deliver the products or services they’ve been contracted to provide. These are less costly in terms of regulation and reputation, but they can hurt the bottom line and overall company performance. And that’s not something investors and the C-suite want to see.

Most of the regulations involving KYC and CCD focus on the financial services industry. That makes sense: These institutions are most likely to be victims of criminals engaged in money laundering and other financially based malfeasance. But other types of businesses also are vulnerable. No reputable company wants to be discovered having supplied their products or services to customers that use them in their criminal activities.

Saving Time, Adding Business  

Properly conducted KYC due diligence is absolutely crucial. It also is massively time-consuming. How can you and your team meet stringent guidelines for customer and vendor identity verification without bringing the onboarding process to a costly crawl? Especially when resources for such due diligence – including finding qualified hires – aren’t always available when they’re needed?

A digital tool designed to help manage this complex, essential work and do so efficiently is Thomson Reuters CLEAR ID Confirm. The foundation of this solution is Thomson Reuters CLEAR, a high-powered digital gatherer of public records. CLEAR ID Confirm rapidly sorts through continuously updated public and proprietary data, including live credit header data, daily updated phone files, corporate filings, and federal employee ID numbers (FEIN), to verify that these parties are indeed who they say they are — and that they’re not involved in activities that could cost your company in terms of embezzlement, fines, or reputation.

CLEAR ID Confirm also pores through passport MRZ verifications, death records, and sanctions listed with the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control. In addition, it can discover whether there are redundant Social Security numbers or multiple business entities using the same FEIN. It also gives your organization access to identification verification data for international and non-U.S. subjects across 40 countries. And it allows you and your team to uncover synthetic identities and easily authenticate identity documents. What’s more, it identifies the sources of the ID information it provides so that you can be confident that your due diligence investigations are being adequately supported.

CLEAR ID Confirm’s capabilities can allow your organization to quickly onboard clients, vendors, and other third parties with which it is doing (or wishes to do) business. At the same time, it can help give you confidence that your company isn’t being exposed to risk by inadvertently providing a financial haven for fraudsters or criminals. And it can help you keep your enterprise growing and prospering.

Learn more about how to protect your business from risk exposure though rigorous identity verification.


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