Need for Identity Verification in Real Estate and Its Real-World Use Cases

  • Richard Marley
  • November 19, 2019
  • 5 minutes read
  • 2999

The real estate industry is in dire need of identity verification processes. The reason being, the transfer, and flow of illegal money across the globe. Criminals are always on the search for opportunities that could contribute to their embezzle funds transfers. Money laundering and terrorist financing are made possible for criminals to conduct it through real estate. Fraudsters have found tricks to fool the real estate agency through which they have learned the ways to clean the ill-gotten gains before enjoying them.

Study shows that the real estate has reached to the crimes of worth $1.6 trillion annually. The lack of a monitoring system estimates this value to increase in the coming years. Here comes the need for identity verification. Identity verification of the property seller, property buyer and the entities that are offered with certificates for multiple purposes. There is a need to verify the person involved in dealing with real estate. This will reduce the chances of bad actors if they are screened through various verification parameters. This step is not as complicated as it seems. Online customer identity verification services are available which help you verify the identities in real-time providing a streamlined process.

In the past few years, the criminals have exploited the real-estate sector to launder their black money and to convert it into white money. Panama Leaks is one of the recent money laundering cases that jolted the regulatory authorities from their deep slumber regarding the need for regulatory scrutiny of the real-estate sector. 

How Real-estate is exploited?

Money launderers find the least regulated regions and then launder their money to buy real-estate. Later the criminals would conduct several buying and selling transactions and incorporate the black money within the sale proceeds of the real-estate. Real-estate is exploited in the integration phase of money laundering. 

Local Legislations and Real Estate

For the accurate and transparent transfers of property, local regulators are active. UK, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Australia states are all adopting efficient ways in real estate to streamline the process of customer verification. To avoid reputational damage to a company, now the organization that complies with local regimes is considered more reputable. 

The UK has given the time till 2021 to the real-estate owners to get registered with the concerned authority. So it’ll filter out the money launderers. The registers of real-estate owners will be shared with the public. So, businesses will have the ability to identify criminals among the legitimate sellers of real-estate. 

By implementing an Electronic Verification System (EVS), real estate agencies can deter the risks of fraud. It is important to screen the customers against electronic databases that contain the lists of exposed persons either they are money launderers, politically exposed or terrorists. These updated lists would help in verifying the identity in seconds. It is a smart way to protect your real estate business from criminals. 

Use Cases of Identity Verification In Real Estate

To strengthen the overall dynamic security measures, it is important to integrate digital identity verification services with the system. This verification system authenticates the customer based on several supporting shreds of evidence that could be official identity cards, bank accounts, and other documents. The following are some of the use-cases that are covered in real estate by identity verification.

Customer Due Diligence

 Identity verification is mandatory to perform Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) processes in the system to verify the customers against strict verification checks. This step serves the purpose when it comes to avoiding illicit funds transfers.

High-risk Transactions

Money launderers have smart tricks to transfer money across the world. It gets hard to track the path of money flow and to differentiate dirty and clean money. Real estate can verify each of its customers before proceeding with any transaction. The property documents should be verified to make sure that it is coming from an honest entity.

Updated Criminal Databases 

Identity verification API collaborates with the updated criminal records against which identities are verified. These criminal records include the list of politically exposed personalities, money launderers, cybercriminals, terrorists and similar entities. Against these sanction lists, each entity is screened to make sure that onboarding identity has not been a part of any criminal activity before or currently.

Compliance Requirements

Local regulators have proposed serious laws regarding identity verification of the customers. These laws came into effect as a result of criminal activities through real estate in various areas of the world. To avoid regulatory penalties, it is important to comply with the requirements of compliances strictly.

To wrap up, real-estate has a huge growth potential that will not tarnish with time but will enhance. The criminals are exploiting this sector for long. But now the regulatory authorities require this sector to practice customer due diligence on their buyers and sellers. It’ll reduce criminal exploitation of this sector. 

Digital identity verification and KYC screening of customers will help real-estate businesses to gain global risk cover against financial criminals.