Secure Online Gambling through Identity and Age Verification

Secure Online Gambling through Identity and Age Verification

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Gambling is a very profitable business for big players and owners alike. According to research, the global gambling industry is expected to reach an estimated US$647.9 billion, constantly increasing at an annual rate of 5.6% through 2022-2027. However, has it been a priority for this sector to employ Identity and age verification for securer practices? Probably not. Online gambling by many is considered to be a quick way to earn easy money with minimal effort, provided they know their tactics right. Attractive offers and fancy marketing are a neat way to attract individuals to various gambling platforms. Alarmingly, many of these individuals are children and minors, a percentage of which has skyrocketed recently. A study by the UK Gambling Commission highlighted the number of children betting, having crossed the 400,000 marks. This is worrying because most of the children are below the ages of 16.

Why Age Verification is Important to Protect Your Children

Since the rise in home computer access and internet usage, more children are using the internet to interact and socialize globally. Almost 71 percent of the children aged 11-17 have access to the internet. It is important for parents to keep minor children off gambling platforms as a reflection of responsible parenting. While no 100 percent restrictions can be placed on children, the responsibility should be professionally taken on by gambling platforms by implementing gambling compliance including age verification, and social responsibility regulations to better deter underage gambling from taking place. For the Gambling industry, it keeps the businesses sound from the regulatory bodies and any unforeseeable financial consequences.

Age Verification allows an online gambling business to:


  • Confirm a person’s Identity
  • Onboard legitimate customers
  • Confirm if a person is of legal age to gamble
  • Be regulatory compliant 
  • Steer clear of financial penalties and legal issues 
  • Prevent viewership of over-age content

Age Verification & Online IDV – The Perfect Pair

Traditional identity verification processes are not sufficient for the demanding and rapidly changing global gambling industry. Age verification is ideally suited to be employed right after the completion of Online Identity verification. The process usually involves the verification of the identity through a primary identification document. Where an individual’s KYC information is compared against identity particulars found on the identification document. Unfortunately, these identification documents can be stolen and bought off the dark web. In 2018, 6% of children had gambled online using a parent or guardian’s account. In order to ensure further security and gambling compliance, some providers offer the service to verify oneself through live video verification or a selfie upload. This allows further fraud mitigation by verifying a person, who they claim to be through a pictorial comparison involving two images – one on the ID document and the other provided in real-time. Once the Identity of the customer is confirmed first, the next step towards age verification can be performed.

From a gambling scenario, the identity of the individual will confirm the legitimacy of the person during the account opening/registration process. Once the account is opened, the individual cannot carry out gambling activities until the age has been verified and confirmed. While the platform has no issue with the legitimacy of the person in question, age verification enables the suitability of the person to carry out activities on the platform. Even if the identity has been confirmed and not the age, the account in question will be kept suspended.

Achieving AML compliance in gambling 

KYC and AML go hand in hand. Undoubtedly, the evolution of the global gambling industry has brought massive opportunities for big players and operators but on the other hand, it has also given rise to online crimes. The environment these business operations take place is much more complex which has made it difficult for regulating the industry and uncovering possible criminal activities.  The reason why international AML regulations and gambling compliances are becoming rigorous. Financial criminals mostly abuse the gambling sector for money laundering. Therefore, AML regulations in online gambling keep money laundering and illegal finances at bay. It is mandatory for the gambling industry to perform enhanced due diligence on customers placing bets of 2,000 euros or more within 24 hours. The gambling industry must comply with the AML frameworks to prevent themselves from potential AML, criminals activities including terrorist financing. Gambling operators need a powerful identity verification solution that not only verifies age but provides a complete solution that thoroughly screens customers based on background history as well.

Making it Even Better   

Online Identity Verification has greatly improved, keeping in mind the recent regulatory requirements that call for improvements to be made in detecting human-presence. This human presence is assured through Shufti Pro’s liveness Detection. The entire process of Online Identity Verification and Age Verification is considered together to fight Spoofing Fraud. Scammers are using spoofing attacks as a way to gain access privileges to others accounts, through realistic image masks, 2D images, HD video playback. In order to combat fraud at a much greater scale, Gambling platforms need to look into advanced Identity Verification over traditional age and identity verification.

Techniques Involved for Advanced IDV

  • Image Distortion Analysis
  • 3D Sensing Techniques
  • Skin Texture Analysis  

Above mentioned techniques are incorporated into the liveness Detection that runs on a machine learning engine for optimal 3D depth analysis. The process is carried out through adequate comparison information. Based on computational Algorithm, different points on the image are compared to that of a previously digitized template. Shufti Pro’s liveness detection proves a person’s legitimate presence as well as prevent from facial spoof attacks.

Where to Go Next

The Global Gambling Industry is a lucrative and growing commercial sector, whether for leisure or economy specific jurisdictions. The sector needs to quickly consider the growing number of young users it attracts that is causing the social disturbance and regulatory displacement. Social responsibility plays a huge part in responsible gambling. It encourages that crime should be kept at bay, gambling should be transparent and most importantly vulnerable people including children should be protected from gambling exploitation. The chances of underage people becoming involved in gambling are 300% more likely to become addicted. 

In order to ensure sound operations, gambling companies, betting platforms, casinos, and other services need to employ the right identity verification services and age verification solutions to meet gambling compliance in order to better protect the system from fraud and the growing number of scam individuals.  

The regulators need to look into services and providers that are established on the motives to fight fraud through innovation and protect the innocent and the system altogether.

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Why online alcohol industry needs robust age verification solutions?

Why online alcohol industry needs robust age verification solutions?

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“Can I see some ID?” The question brick and mortar booze stores ask or at least should ask to verify that the buyer is of legal age. These ID check laws are stringent in almost every jurisdiction. For instance, selling age-restricted products to minors is a punishable crime with a penalty of up to 20,000 pounds, as well as, causing significant reputational damage to the owner. Retailers responded by placing age verification checks at checkout.

However, with increasing sales and purchases happening over the internet, how these strict age checks should be carried out? This is becoming a challenging obstacle for online retailers of liquor products. It’s quite obvious that regulations apply to the sale of liquor both online and offline. But the problem for online retailers is arguably greater as the customers could hide their identity behind the anonymity that internet offers.

Even though there has been a considerable growth of age checking in the offline environment, which has contributed to a notable restriction in the illegal and underage sales of alcohol, it is becoming clear that online alcohol sales are a potential area of vulnerability for the retail sector. The dilemma is that most of these online sellers didn’t implant verification checks. Some of the major retailers do have some safeguarding restraints but the digital world is enormous and borderless. The current checks aren’t enough and more needs to be done by all retailers to ensure that underage alcohol sale is restricted. 

What should the retailers do?

Online retailers need to make sure that they are not selling age-restricted products to the people under minimum legal age. The minimum age requirements are different in every jurisdiction, however, the online retailers should follow the most widely used minimum age requirement all over the world. 

This means the retailers should set up effective age verification systems capable of identifying and verifying the age of customers to ensure they are above the legal age to purchase alcohol. When accessing which systems or checks could be more suitable, businesses should consider all legal requirements and exercise due diligence to avoid committing an offence. These legal requirements are not only a retailer’s defence in consumer protection regulations but they are also an ethical duty of the retailer. 

These systems should be regularly observed and updated to identify any issues or to keep pace with the advancement in technology. Ordinarily speaking, there is no definite answer to what constitutes taking all feasible anticipations and exercise all due diligence possible. 

Conventional age authentication checks unlikely to satisfy due diligence

Many online retail stores place simple checks and transfer the responsibility of verification to their customers. The simple age confirmation checkboxes are the most common type of restraints set up on the websites. Here are some of the checks that are, unfortunately, not enough to verify the age of purchasers.

  • Relying on the customers to confirm their age
  • Using simple disclaimers to make an assumption
  • Using an accept statement for the users to confirm that they have read all the terms and conditions and are eligible to purchase their product.
  • Accepting payments through credit card without verification that the card belongs to the person making purchases.
  • Placing tick boxes to ask customers to confirm that they are of legal age

More convincing age verification checks

Age verification in the rapid pace digital world is a challenging and cumbersome task for both customers and businesses alike. Here are some of the possible precautions that retailers could implement to comply with age verification regulations. 

Age verification on delivery

One simple age verification check could be that retailers rely on delivery drivers to request the age proof at the time of delivery. However, relying on the third party courier delivery services may not be a proper way as the third party could deny the responsibility for age verification.

Collect in-store policy

Another scenario where businesses could perform stringent age verification is by introducing the collect in-store policy. This strategy may work for some of the retailers having both online and street presence but for businesses offering products online only this strategy will not work.

Online age verification services

In this tech-savvy environment, online age verification solutions have become more convenient. With these solutions in place, businesses can now implement multiple layers of checks to verify the age of the customer. 

Online age verification is a secure way to verify and validate the age of customers making purchases online. Using government-issued identity documents to verify the age of customers, both businesses and customers can help build a safer online market place for age-restricted products such as alcohol. By using AI-based identity verification solutions, businesses can verify the identity of a user more securely and in real-time without extra delays. This not only serves as a stringent verification check but also enhances the customer experience. Without interrupting the customer journey businesses could comply with all regulatory requirements around age-restricted products.

With increasing legal and ethical implications, it is necessary for businesses to employ a more technologically advanced age verification solution that serves multiple purposes at the same time. AI-based online identity verification solutions could help online alcohol retailers to restrict under-age users in real-time without creating obstacles for legitimate customers.  

Top 8 Facial Recognition trends to watch in 2020

Top 8 Facial Recognition trends to watch in 2020

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Facial recognition has been gaining prominence in recent times, owing to the benefits it offers over traditional security methods. The facial recognition market was valued at 5.07 USD billion in 2019 and is expected to reach a value of 10.07 billion USD by 2025. Face recognition is one of the most common forms of biometric authentication. 

As we enter a new decade, the use of artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition technology is expected to become more commonplace. From day to day tasks such as unlocking smartphones to identity verification in digital banking, our day to day interactions with face authentication software will continue to grow.

Whether it’s helping leading retailers like Amazon to identify the customers or assisting the governments in the airport and border security management to identify potential threats, face verification technology is changing the game across a wide range of sectors. However, the next decade is expected to see a major boom in the face recognition industry. 

In this article, we will discover 8 face recognition trends that are set to shape the landscape in 2020 but before that, we will discuss what it is and how it works.

What is Face Recognition?

Facial Recognition is a technology, which is capable of identifying and verifying a person using their face. It captures, analyzes and compares patterns based on a person’s facial features.

Now let’s take a deep insight into how we can expect our interactions with face recognition technology to increase as we move into 2020.

Top face recognition trends

E-Commerce and Digital Banking

In the world of digital services, issues of identity and authentication pose am a threat. It’s not easy to trust someone when they are not physically present. Traditional knowledge-based methods have already been tested and clearly, they aren’t the solution to online protection. Verification methods like passwords and emails are vulnerable to hacking and difficult to memorize.

For foolproof security, something more robust is needed and one of the solutions that experts believe to take over these methods is biometrics using facial features. Needless to say, face recognition technology is becoming commonplace in the online industry and is expected to be implied in digital transactions for fraud mitigation.

Personalized Customer Experience

Something that we can expect more and more companies to embrace is personalized customer experience and biometrics can enhance this feature. With customers able to login using their face, they will access personalized content specifically designed for them based on their preferences. Online education is one of the major sectors to adopt personalized customer experience.

Airport Security and Border Security Management

Delta airlines have already implemented face authentication technology at Atlanta airport. However, the company has confirmed that by the end of 2020, more than 20 airports will have facial recognition to improve the customer journey. Customers will be able to use their faces to check-in, check their luggage, and board a plane. 

Even though concerns were raised on the use of facial recognition for identification at the airport, however, 73% of the customers said that they would feel comfortable using this technology after the single pass through Delta’s curb-to-gate facial recognition system.

Health Care

Given the health care is under constant pressure from both physical and digital security breaches, the healthcare sector is investing in facial recognition technology to enable more advanced security and fraud prevention. From preventing health insurance fraud to detecting diseases, biometric technology is already being used in the health sector. Expected facial recognition trends in the health care sector in 2020 includes:

  • Tracking patients’ medication history
  • Detecting genetic diseases
  • Preventing health insurance fraud

Cardless Payments

Chinese payment systems are already ahead of the rest of the world with secure systems like AliPay and WePay. Face authentication presents retailers with more valuable data and it has the potential to remove shopping cart barriers. Amazon and other big e-commerce companies are expected to roll out their version of facial recognition for payments in 2020.

Tourism and Travel

Forget locking yourself out of a hotel room or having to take your key card everywhere you go. While booking a room, either in person or over the phone, customers will be able to register through their faces. In hotels that use face verification technology, the check-in time is reduced by 40%. Facial recognition technology is expected to be seen everywhere from flight booking to checking in at the resort.

Smart Technologies

With Apple launching FaceID, smartphones have become a big customer area where facial recognition technology is being implemented. Face recognition technology is also becoming prevalent in other forms of smart technologies such as smart TV and smart home security system.

Digital Advertising

As retail stores look to personalize customer experience for customers, facial recognition is being used to identify individuals and their demographics to present promotions and content tailored to their demographics. This might be a little controversial but this trend is to be seen around 2020.

Facial recognition is already being used and integrated into daily aspects of our lives and the future of this technology is an exciting one. While there are concerns raised over the use of this technology, people are still adopting and embracing facial recognition technology for improving their experience.         

How Deepfakes Deceptions are Affecting Businesses

How Deepfakes Deceptions are Affecting Businesses

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The word deep fake comes from the terms “deep learning” and “fake,” and is a type of artificial intelligence. In simplistic terms, deep fakes are falsified videos made by means of deep learning. Deep learning is “a subset of AI,” and refers to arrangements of algorithms that can learn and make intelligent decisions on their own. This technology can be used to make people believe the false. According to Peter Singer, cybersecurity and defense-focused strategist and senior fellow at New America think tank the danger of this technology is that it can be used to make you believe something is real when it is not.  These deep fakes are a new kind of video featuring realistic face-swaps. In short, a computer program finds common ground between two faces and stitches one over the other. If source footage has high resemblance the transformation is nearly seamless. 

Deepfakes are so-named because they use deep learning technology, a branch of machine learning that applies neural net simulation to massive data sets, to create a fake. The source face is transposed onto a target like a mask by using artificial intelligence. 

Why Deep Fakes are being used?

Deep fakes have various purposes to be used. Following are the details:

Original Purpose:

 Deep fakes were developed to be used to make mimicry of someone from a funny perspective. This technology has been used in many 3D movies for famous characters. Deep fakes were utilized to leak funny videos. This technology was used by the film industry for many purposes. 

Technology Turning Bad:

Now, this technology is being widely used to deceive people by cybercriminals. Nowadays, there are several different ways to swap faces in a very realistic way. Not all use AI, but some do: deep fake is one of them. Such technology can be used to fool a system and gain access. This poses a major threat to businesses across the globe. New technologies are being used to deceive people online.  A recent focus on disinformation and fake news has sparked concerns among the public. In the past, only an expert forger could create realistic fake media by using deceptive techniques. But now using machine-learning allows anyone with a smartphone to generate high-quality fake videos. Such videos can incite panic and sow distrust in businesses to produce other harmful outcomes. Because of potential harms businesses have expressed concerns about deep-fake technology. Deep-fake technology can create such realistic-looking content that represents an unprecedented development in the ecosystem of disinformation. The content produced by deep fakes seems so real that the viewers are induced to trust it and share it on social networks thus hastening the spread of disinformation. 

Ways Deep Fake Deception is a Threat to Business:

Following are the threats that deep fakes pose on businesses: 

Tarnish Business Reputation:

Deepfakes are to spread fake news against anyone. Videos of CEOs are made previously which has been used against the businesses. Such cases spoil the company’s reputation catastrophically. KYC is a mandatory thing to be performed by business in order to verify their customers and KYB to authenticate other businesses. Such deepfake videos can be used to trick the system and hence causing the unauthenticated and wrong people to be taken on board. Such customers are the biggest threat to businesses as they will use your business to run illegal activities like money laundering, terrorist financing, cybercriminal activities like data breaches. Ultimately it’s the business whose name and reputation will be spoiled in all these scenarios. 

Social Engineering:

Social engineering and fraud are by no means a new threat to businesses, with spam, phishing, and malware routinely targeting employees and businesses’ IT infrastructure. Most corporate entities have adapted to deal with these threats, employing robust cybersecurity measures and educating employees.

However, deepfakes will provide an unprecedented means of impersonating individuals, contributing to fraud that will target individuals in traditionally ‘secure’ contexts, such as phone calls and video conferences. This could see the creation of highly realistic synthetic voice audio of a CEO requesting the transfer of certain assets, or the synthetic impersonation of a client over Skype, asking for sensitive details on a project.

These uses of deepfakes may seem far-fetched, but as an example by a Buzzfeed journalist demonstrated last year, even primitive synthetic voice audio was able to convince his mother he was speaking to her on the phone. The threat here is derived from an existing assumption that this kind of synthetic impersonation is not possible.

Previous examples of direct audio-visual impersonation scams read like something out of a Hollywood film. One recent case involved Israeli conmen stealing €8m from a businessman by impersonating the French foreign minister over Skype, recreating a fake version of his office, and hiring a makeup expert to disguise them as the minister and his chief of staff.

Biometric security measures such as the voice and facial recognition used in automated KYC procedures for onboarding bank customers may be compromised by deepfakes that can almost perfectly replicate these features of an individual.

Extortion against Influential Business Leaders:

If not in an attempt to manipulate markets, deepfakes will also enhance and likely increase extortion attempts against influential business leaders. 

Fake videos or audio of business leaders could be generated quickly using deepfakes which ends leveraging existing damaging rumors or fabricating new scenarios. These videos can be used to blackmail by saying that these are real for ransom or posing the identical threat of significant damage to the individual’s reputation.

The authenticity of the defamatory video or photos will become irrelevant in this deepfake extortion. Such videos have the potential to cause catastrophic damage to individual and corporate reputation.

Market Stock Manipulation:

Such deepfakes also have significant potential to enhance market manipulation attacks in addition to scams and direct impersonation. This could involve the precise and targeted publication of a deepfake, such as a video of US President Donald Trump promising to impose or lift tariffs on steel imports, which cause a company’s stock price to plummet.

Another good example of how deepfake market manipulation could play out can be seen with the recent erratic behavior of Paypal co-founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. 

The public expectation of such volatile behavior from Musk makes him a prime target for deepfakes that depict him acting in a damaging way, further impacting Tesla’s share price and corporate reputation. However, the time required to confidently prove a video or photo is a deepfake may make such rollbacks impossible.

How Can you Protect your Business?

Following are some precautionary measures that every business need to adopt to be on the safe side by deep fakes:

Train Your Employee: Give proper training to your employees to detect real and fake images and videos before using them.

Monitor your business Online: Always check for your business-related videos online to filter out if there is any fake image or clip is present related to your company or representatives.

Incorporate the latest technology: The latest technology should be used to fight back scams that come with the latest technologies. Always stay a step ahead by having a tech-powered system.

Be Transparent: Be transparent and have a filter system to hinder any such activity to save your business. 

It is essential that the corporate world prepares for the inevitable impact of deepfakes, educating employees about this emerging threat, and integrating media authentication tools into their data pipelines. Failing to do so may lead to irreparable damage to corporate reputation, profits, and market valuation. So deep fakes can cause real damage to businesses if the right steps are not taken on time. 

Scammers Stealing Kids’ Identities By Offering ‘Free Child Safety Kids”

Scammers Stealing Kids’ Identities By Offering ‘Free Child Safety Kids”

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning parents to be aware of ‘free child safety kits’ as scammers are using these kits to obtain sensitive information which is then used to steal kids’ identities. 

According to the BBB, recent reports indicate an increase in this type of scam and parents have to be alert. 

This scam works when a scammer contacts you over the phone or through email or social media saying they are providing free child safety kits to all the kids in your community. They will convince people by saying police and safety officials recommend parents keep this type on hand in case of an emergency like if your child goes missing. The kit should contain current photos of the child, height, weight, birthdate and fingerprints and a strand of their hard. Although this part is true, the ‘free child safety kits’ they are offering are not. 

The scammer will then say that in order to receive your kit, you need to tell them sensitive information about your child which includes their full name, address, birth date, and Social Security or Social Insurance number. Some people even say that in order to get the kits, they will have to meet the child in person at their home which is a huge red alert warns BBB. 

According to the BBB, 

“If you give up your child’s personal information, they may become a victim of identity theft. Children are more likely to have their identities stolen than adults. Scammers know that people rarely, if ever, check their child’s credit report, which means they can get away with using a child’s name and information for years before being found out. In addition, children’s credit scores are a clean slate, making them an ideal target.”

The BBB offers the following tips to avoid falling victim to this scam. 

  • Never reveal your child’s personal information to a stranger especially their Social Security number. 
  • Be aware of unsolicited offers. Legitimate businesses and organizations don’t contact you out of the blue without talking to your first. 
  • Make sure your child’s identity is protected. Check your child’s credit report annually for signs of fraud at and make sure nothing seems out of the ordinary. 
  • Be aware of red flags, such as bills or invoices mailed to your home in your child’s name.
Youtube Stepping up to Protect Minors’ Data Online

Youtube Stepping up to Protect Minors’ Data Online

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The explosion of the internet and mobile devices has paved new ways for marketers and Cybercriminals to gather children’s data. The active presence of children on social media platforms is not helping either. Whether it’s about online games or watching cartoons online, a huge number of children are accessing mobiles and other smart devices.

In the modern era of digital technologies and the widespread use of the internet, it is essential to protect the children’s identities and data online. Children, their rights and the interest must not be ignored since their personal data can be processed. The failure to take possible measures can result in hefty fines for businesses and online platforms. 

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act obliges the online platforms and commercial websites to put parents/guardians in control of whatever information they collect from their children online. Congress passed this act to give parents complete control over their children’s data who are under 13. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued the child’s online privacy protection rule and it has been in place since 2000.

The organizations that run commercial websites or operate ad networks third-party services/plugins used by kid-directed sites are obliged to COPPA compliance. The failure to do so can not only result in strict actions from authorities, but also hefty fines and brand damage.

GDPR- Consent and Minors

The General Data Protection Regulation aims to protect consumer data in online performs. Article 8 in GDPR specifically focuses on the issue of consent and minors in the digital world. According to this article, when the online services (that need consent) are directly provided to any child, the processing of a child’s data is lawful if the children are above or at least 16 years old. 

If the child is below 16, then the collection of processing of data is only legal when parents or guardians give consent. An important obligation here is that the controllers/ marketers need to take rational measures to verify consent is authorized by the parents or legal guardians only, as per available technology.

FTC fines Google for Violation of Children’s privacy law

Youtube is one of the widely used platforms by children these days and is obliged by the child protection laws. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission fined Google $170 million following the investigations into Youtube over alleged violations of children’s privacy law. The faction of 23 child advocacy, consumer and privacy groups filed a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission that Google is collecting the personal data of children and showing an advertisement to those who are aged under 13, hence, violating the child protection laws.

The group – including Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), and 21 other organizations – alleged that even though Google claims that Youtube is for people above 13 it clearly knows that underage children also use this platform. Moreover, it collects the personal information of underage children such as device identifiers, location, phone number, gender, etc. and tracks them across multiple sites. All this data collection and processing was done without parental consent.

After proper investigations, the New York attorney general and FTC alleged that Google has marketed Youtube to advertisers even after knowing that many channels are popular among younger audiences. In addition, it tracked and processed the search and viewing histories of children to show them relative ads. It clearly violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Joe Simons, chairman FTC said in his talk:

“YouTube touted its popularity with children to prospective corporate clients. Yet when it came to complying with COPPA, the company refused to acknowledge that portions of its platform were clearly directed to kids. There’s no excuse for YouTube’s violations of the law.”

 It is reported that $170 million is the largest COPPA fine to date, overshadowing the fine that TikTok’s parent company received in February 2018 for violation of the very same law.

Youtube Step-ups the Protection Game

Taking into account the fine imposed by FTC, last month Youtube formally announced its new policy for creators to label any video that may be appealing to kids. This policy is to be implemented in January 2020. Afterward, if the creators label any video as “directed at kids” then the data collection will be blocked for every viewer of that particular video.

Google confirms that this new policy is the outcome of the $170 million settlement. 

As per the terms of the settlement, YouTube is required to 

“develop, implement, and maintain a system for Channel Owners to designate whether their Content on the YouTube Service is directed to children.” 

The Challenges for Creators

One of the major challenges with this new label system is that the videos will result in reduced ad revenues.  For, once the video is labeled as kids all the personalized ads will automatically shut off, only the contextualized advertising will be enabled based on the video. Now, youtube can’t operate its ad-targeting system on children under the age of 13 – a notable problem for the platform with a majority of the young audiences.

Moreover, the child-directed videos will have fewer advantages on their plates since they will lose some of the features. It includes comments sections, end screens, click-through info cards, notification functions, and the community tab. With the removal of all-powerful tools, the creators won’t be able to drive viewers back to a channel.

The Consequences

These new changes in the working of Youtube have left many channel owners in the confusion that whether they are subject to these new policies or not. The creators are reeling over what is exactly the kids’ content. This is making some of the most popular Youtube categories – including gaming videos, toy reviews, family vlogging, etc. – fall into the gray area. Creators are worried about what would happen if they mistakenly mislabel some video.

The consequences of not properly labeling the video as “child-directed” can be very severe for the creators. FTC clearly announced in its September order that it could sue the individual channel owners who fail or abuse this new labeling system. It means the lawsuits will fall entirely on the creators instead of Youtube. The sole responsibility of Youtube is to maintain the new system and provide the creators with ongoing data policy updates.

5 Key Cybersecurity Threats for 2020

5 Key Cybersecurity Threats for 2020

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Cybersecurity threats have become remarkably common and they continue to gain traction with the progressions in technology. Cybercriminals are continuously adopting newer technologies, enhancing their coordination and becoming more sophisticated. Through cybercrimes, employees’ and customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) gets compromised and used in illegal schemes somewhere else. Through large-scale data breaches, legitimate data is vulnerable to identity thefts and frauds. 

According to a study by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrimes will cost the world $6 trillion a year by 2021.  In the last few years, cybercrimes have been in the news a lot with tech giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile companies becoming a victim of data and security breaches. This is why when it comes to cybercrimes, it’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s a question of ‘when’ it will happen. 

Watch Out for These Cyber Security Threats in 2020

This article details five key cyber threats that enterprises need to take seriously and should watch out for in 2020. 

Social Engineering Attacks 

Social engineering is a method of tricking people so that they give you their information. It is also a way to exploit their weakness, or negligence, to figure out that information. Phishing attacks are a type of social engineering attack. In a phishing attack, the attacker generates a fraudulent email, text or website in order to dupe a victim into giving out sensitive information. Phishing attacks are considered to be the most frequently used approach to get into a corporation’s network these days. Through these attacks, login credentials for work, passwords to online accounts, credit card info, date of birth, etc. are stolen by the attacker. 

Only 3 percent of malware tries to exploit an exclusively technical flaw and the other 97 percent target users through social engineering according to KnowBe4. Phishing strategies are now becoming remarkably common as they are cheap, effective and easy to pull off. A report by Small Business Trends reports 1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack. And this counts for 4.8 emails per employee in a five-day work week. Close to 30% of phishing emails make it past default security. 

Social engineering attacks are specifically designed to deceive your employees into granting access to systems or divulging information that helps attackers gain that access through low-, or often no-tech means. Social engineering attacks can come in many forms — by phone, email, snail mail, in person or through social media. So, it’s important that you train your employees to be wary.

IoT-Based Attacks

Almost everything these days is connected with the internet but a lot of these smart devices don’t have strong security installed. This makes it easy for attackers to hijack these devices to infiltrate business networks. An IoT attack is any cyberattack that leverages a victim’s use of internet-connected smart devices like Wi-Fi-connected speakers, appliances, alarm clocks, etc to sneak malware onto a network. In the workplace, everything from smart thermostats and videoconferencing technologies to stock monitors and smart vending machines are all examples of IoT technologies. 

IoT is continuously gaining traction and according to Gartner, by 2020 more than 20.4 billion IoT devices will exist. Connected devices are easier for customer use and the majority of businesses use them to save money. More connected devices imply greater risk which subsequently makes IoT networks more vulnerable to cyber invasions.  Once controlled by hackers, IoT devices can then used to overload networks, create havoc or close down essential equipment for financial gain. The very things that make IoT so common and easy to use are the same reasons for their vulnerability. 

Ransomware Attacks 

Ransomware attacks are becoming extremely common in the past few years. These are a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a specific sum of money is paid. This type of attack is triggered by an employee clicking on a link in a phishing email that is harmful and then clicking the link that ignites the malware. 

It is highly imperative for enterprises to maintain the privacy of their customers and keep their confidential data secure. In general, ransomware attacks targeting individuals are on the decline over the last year. As reported by ITPro Today, within businesses the rate of ransomware detections rose from 2.8 million in the first quarter of 2018 to 9.5 million in the first quarter of 2019. That’s nearly a 340% increase in detections. It is already on track to hit $11.5 billion in damages for 2019. 

A reason why businesses are the victims of ransomware attacks more than private individuals is that they have more motivation to pay for ransoms compared to people. The threat of ransomware is ever increasing and it’s going to be no different in 2020. Businesses are vulnerable to encryption malware making its way into their systems and destroying their data.

Internal Threats

One of the most damaging cybersecurity threats faced by any business is through its own employees. As employees have inside access to the business’s happening, it makes them capable of inflicting great harm if they choose to abuse their access rights for personal gains. Employees may unknowingly allow their user accounts to be jeopardized by attackers or download harmful malware onto their systems. 

The reason why internal threats are one of the biggest cybersecurity threats to pay attention to is because of the magnitude of risks they pose. Internal security breaches happen about 2500 times every day in US Business and 19% of employees state that they have been involved in a security breach at work.

State-sponsored Attacks 

It isn’t just hackers looking to make a profit through attacks and cyber threats, cyberattacks are becoming common on the government level as well. Entire nations are using their cyber skills to infiltrate other governments in order to perform attacks on critical infrastructure. State-sponsored attacks will continue to expand its scope in the year 2020 with attacks on critical infrastructure as a particular concern. 

The majority of these attacks target government-run systems and infrastructure but private sector organizations are also at risk. According to a report from Thomson Reuters Labs, state-sponsored cyberattacks are constantly emerging and pose a significant risk to private enterprises. This will increase the challenges to those sectors of the business world that provide convenient targets for settling geopolitical grievances.

Instagram is Adding Age Verification to Protect Minors

Instagram is Adding Age Verification to Protect Minors

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Instagram is adding age verification in order to provide a safer online community to the minors. This step is added to ensure that all Instagram users are over the official age limit of 13 years old. 

Age verification measure ensures that going forward, every user will have to enter their date of birth to create a new account. If a user has a connected Facebook account, the date of birth on that platform will be used on Instagram as well, or it can be directly added on Instagram. 

Age verification measure ensures that going forward


The added birthday will not be visible to a user’s followers like it does on Facebook. Instagram revealed in a blog post that the date of birth will be used to ‘create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people.

Age verification processes have become quite common in recent years because of the numerous regulations like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. According to this act, websites, apps, and social media platforms are not allowed to ask children under 13 any personal data without parental consent. But with this new measure, Instagram is excluding everyone under 13 from their platform altogether. 

Instagram is also restricting who can send direct messages to whom. Instagram users can now opt to receive messages and get added to group threads only by the people they follow. This shows that the app is true to its commitment to creating a safer, less pressurized experience for its users. 

Instagram is also restricting who can send direct messages to whom.



7 Ways to Protect Your Children from Identity Theft

7 Ways to Protect Your Children from Identity Theft

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Living in the digital world, the word “Identity theft” makes us more than a little nervous. Knowing that someone out there is using your identity for criminal activities sound so scary. It is even more surprising for parents to know that stealing their children’s identities is easier. What makes it more frightening is the nature of the theft that it may take too long to discover the crime.

No one can provide better protection to children other than parents. Parents are ultimately the best protection against child identity thieves. However, the lawmakers are now actively taking part as well in raising awareness about this matter. In fact, there are some movements for the protection of children’s data – for instance, National Child Identity Theft Awareness Day. 

Moreover, the government is introducing Child protection laws – The Digital Economy Act 2017 – to protect the identities of children in the digital world. These laws enforce the digital platforms to incorporate age verification checks to their digital platforms to keep minors away from the dark web and age-restricted mature content.

National Child Identity Theft Awareness Day

Identity theft is becoming a worldwide issue. Every year millions of people fell victim to this crime and lose billions due to frauds that occurred using stolen identities. According to The Harris Poll, around 15 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2017. Not just the adults but the children are equally or more on the target list of identity thieves. According to Javelin’s Report, more than a million children were the victims of identity theft in 2017 which resulted in a loss of $2.6 billion.

Taking into account the alarming situation of children identity theft, the world’s leading global information services company, Experian, started the movement “National Child Identity Theft Awareness Day” – held on September 1 every year. The aim of this movement is to educate the parents about protecting their children’s sensitive information. Most parents are unaware of the reasons and vulnerabilities that lead to identity theft. As per a study, the children who are bullied online are nine times more likely to fall victim to identity theft.

Identity thieves primarily target children because of their clean histories and the criminals can use their information for a longer period of time without getting caught. The reason is parents are oblivious of the fact that their child’s identity is under threat. Hence they don’t necessarily check their children’s credit report.

The Cultivating Threat

The nature of the crime “Child Identity theft” to stay undetected for a longer period of time makes it hair-raising. Every year criminals succeed in exploiting millions of children’s identities. The explosion of the internet and smart devices is not helping either, instead, it has fueled up identity theft to an alarming rate.

Tips for Parents to protect their Children Identity

Tips for Parents to protect their Children Identity

Parents are often under the wrong impression that their child’s identity will never be stolen and that’s what they do wrong. Even if you are sure that your children are safe, a few preventive measures won’t hurt, right? There are some common red flags parents don’t pay attention to and hence their children get stuck with privacy problems. 

Here are some simple tips for parents to protect their precious bundles from falling victim to this rising crime.

Look out for Red Flags

The best way to deal with the problem is to know its root causes first. Once you are aware of the factors that can lead to some problems then you can easily combat that. In order to protect your children from identity theft, you must look out for warning signs. Just imagine you come across a pre-approved credit card offer in your child’s name. It may sound some computer glitch to you. But what if it’s not?

This can be a warning sign that someone is using your child’s identity. If you ignore this thinking of it some computer mistakes then it may lead you to a major problem. 

Monitor your child’s Social Media

Living in the world of mobile phones and tablets, children using the internet is not something new. Every child now has a presence on the internet whether it’s about watching cartoons on youtube, playing games or using social media. You have no idea who the fellow gamers and anonymous friends are. They can even be identity thieves or pedophiles.

Allowing your child to explore the technology isn’t bad but leaving them on their own may have a negative impact. If you are letting your children participate online then make sure to monitor their activities. The passwords of the accounts must always be available to parents so that they can check regularly with whom their children are interacting. Children may find it their privacy breach or may just hate the idea of giving their passwords. But it’s essential for their protection.

Protect your Child’s Social Security Number

The social security number is the key to a child’s identity and is the first thing that identity thieves target. They can use it to unlock many hidden doors for their benefit. The stolen SSN can be used for multiple purposes – the creation of synthetic identities being the significant one. These identities can be used to open a bank account, issue a credit card, get a bank loan or a car and health insurance, etc. By the time such frauds are detected, it has already caused enough damage.

To avoid these situations, as parents what you can do is obtain SSN for your children first and then keep it safe. Parents need to be vigilant in sharing the children’s SSNs. there are many organizations that ask for children’s social security numbers even though they don’t need it. In such cases, parents should inquire about which purpose are they going to use it.

Open Joint Bank Account

Parents are often seen opening bank accounts on their children’s names to deposit saving checks and bonds. But these savings accounts can pave the way to identity theft. Since once your child’s account has an account, it means that there will definitely be bank statements, emails and letters from the bank. The fraudsters can access that information by some means and use it to get their hands on your child’s cash. Moreover, criminals may use that account to do business or for illegal transactions like money laundering, terrorist funding, etc. 

If you are opening an account on the child’s name then make sure to link it to your account as well, or open a joint account. It will help you keep an eye on the transactions and monitor the payments. Whenever there is some suspicious activity you can be notified instantly. Sometimes, clever crooks use the child’s account to take loans from banks which they have no intention of returning. In those circumstances, the child’s name will be reported to the agencies which may lead to a severe mess, difficult to clean up. By having a joint account, your permission will also be required in order to process any payment or loan.

Dispose of Data Carefully

The discarded data is worth a million in the dark web since the criminals can use it for multiple illegal reasons. You need to be very cautious while throwing away the garbaged documents. Always dispose of the documents, or anything addressed to your children before throwing them out. The things that are wastage for you can be valuable for crooks. 

Safeguard your smart devices

The advancement in technology has opened new doors for cybercriminals to exploit the user devices and obtain the personal data stored in it. It is your duty as parents to secure your smart devices in every possible way. Never store your sensitive data on laptops or mobiles. Always keep it stored in external hard drives or flash USBs.

Moreover, set strong passwords for your devices and install security apps and antivirus software to keep them secure. 

Find and Freeze Credit Report

We often think that children don’t have any credit histories so why would identity go after them? That’s where we are wrong. The clear status of the child’s credit history intrigues the thieves since using their identity they can apply for credit cards, open utility accounts, take out loans, commit tax frauds and many other forms of digital fraud. Timely check the credit history of your children. If no credit report exists then it’s best otherwise immediately get the report and proclaim it to the respective authorities. It may be a sign of possible identity theft.

Equifax Survey shows Britain Prefers Biometric Verification

Equifax Survey shows Britain Prefers Biometric Verification

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Credit reporting agency, Equifax, reports that Brits are much more open to adopting biometric authentication and identification. According to the research, more Brits are using technology and are happy with further increases in usage. Using biometric authentication to unlock your smartphones is one of the most used applications of the technology, but what about age verification in the pub? 

The company surveyed 2000 people. According to the survey, 71% of the participants are content with finger-print or facial recognition to completely replace the old-school PIN and passwords for accessing smartphones. Another 64% would welcome the same technologies to replace passwords for laptops. 60% of the respondents are okay with biometric authentication for age verification while the use of biometrics for voting ballots was backed by 58%. The people surveyed were more careful when it came to the usage of biometrics to unlock their front door (41%), start their car (45%), or withdraw cash (46%). 

Keith McGill – Head of ID & Fraud at Equifax said: 

“As the rise in financial fraud continues, particularly when it comes to identity theft, it’s essential we develop and embrace new and innovative means to protect consumers.”

One of the challenges of widespread usage of biometric authentication will be around privacy and data protection concerns. This being said, it is still imperative to embrace and enhance biometrics and relevant technologies to mitigate frauds and scams. 

Age Verification –  Does Your Business Need It?

Age Verification – Does Your Business Need It?

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Several businesses are unaware of the significance that age verification holds for their business. UK gambling firms paid £19.6m in penalties due to money laundering and under-age gambling conducted on their platforms. 

Regulatory authorities are introducing stringent Anti Money Laundering (AML) and age-restricted selling regulations to eliminate the risk of money laundering and under-age gambling addiction. 

For example, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission amended the identity verification and KYC regulations for online gambling sites. The new regulations require online gambling websites to verify at least the name, address, and age of their players before onboarding them. The previously registered players should be verified as well. 

With strict changes in the age-verification regimes, the businesses need to gain in-depth knowledge about verification, its methods, and benefits. Several businesses need to incorporate age-verification software in their systems due to one reason or another but are unaware of urgency due to lack of awareness. 

What Is Age Verification?

Age verification is a process in which the identity document of the user/customer of a business is screened to verify if the age information provided is true or not. This process can be performed manually or through an automated process. Manual verification is not practiced commonly because it has a high risk of human error and the process is hefty. 

To solve this problem online age verification is used widely by many businesses. It helps in remote age verification of customers from any corner of the world. 

How is Online Age Verification Performed?

How is Online Age Verification Performed?


Online age verification is a swift process that shows results within a minute saving a lot of time and effort of the fraud officer and compliance department. 

  • The end-user (your customer) is asked to enter his date of birth and show his ID Card or another identity document (passport, driving license) bearing his date of birth. 
  • The system screens the document for default format and matches the date of birth on the document with that added by the end-user. 
  • Once the verification process is completed the results are shown to the end-user and updated in the back office. 

Why Businesses Need Age Verification?


The significant reasons why businesses need to verify the age of their customers are listed below:

Regulatory Compliance


Regulatory compliance is often one of the major reasons why businesses need to verify the age of their customers is regulatory compliance. Regulations in several countries like the UK and the USA have made age-verification necessary for some businesses and huge penalties are imposed in case of non-compliance. 

Regulatory compliance helps businesses in gaining credit rating and market value. 

Corporate Social Responsibility


Corporate Social Responsibility includes the operations and activities of a business that do not reap monetary gain but help it in improving its market value and brand image among the masses. 

Businesses that sell age-restricted products can use age-verification to show their commitment to the benefit of the masses. Children die every day due to unhealthy consumption of drugs and alcohol, 442 children died in the U.S. in 2015 due to drug overdose. Alcohol sellers should use age verification to play their part in decreasing deaths due to the under-age consumption of alcohol. 

It will help the liquor store in gaining prominence as a regulatory compliant and socially responsible business. 

Risk of Fake Identities


Often the children use the identity cards of their parents/elders to buy goods online. In such cases, if a business does not use identity verification it might end up losing its credibility and will also face penalties.

Another source of risk for some businesses is when identity thieves use the identities of other people to get free services and benefits. Often some benefits like pension and old age funds are given to needy people. Criminals might use fake identities to gain those benefits illegally. 

Businesses That Need to Verify The Age of Their Customer


Online alcohol stores have a high-risk because they have no face to face interaction with their customers. So, it is very easy for children to buy drugs and alcohol online by using the ID card number of their parents or elders. 

Several Businesses need to use online age verification to gain the benefits mentioned above. It is a common belief that only gaming and gambling websites need ID verification but the reality is the other way round. Below is a list of businesses that need to verify the age of their customers: 


  • Online gaming and gambling websites


Online gaming and gambling websites are under the strict scrutiny of the regulatory authorities. They need to run in-depth KYC on the gamers before onboarding them and age-verification is a necessary part of this regulation. The major reason is to reduce gaming addiction among youngsters. Also, most of these sites are not suitable for underage kids. 

Online age verification helps online gaming businesses to reduce the risk of non-compliance penalties by providing global coverage in age verification. It reduces the hassle of regulatory compliance by providing swift results. It helps businesses in retaining legitimate customers and keeping minors at the bay.  


  • E-commerce Spaces 


E-commerce is a huge market. Often such platforms have a diverse range of products, some of them are suitable for minors and the others are only for adults. Such platforms have a hard time managing their audience because regulations related to age-verification are imposed on such platforms as well. 

For example, if an online store sells grocery items and liquor as well in its products range then he will need to introduce roadblocks in its website design to mitigate the sales to minors. In this case, online age verification software proves to be an efficient tool for seamless risk prevention.  


  • Drug stores and hospitals (medical marijuana)


Online drug stores and hospitals have the right to sell some very expensive drugs. Often such drugs prove to be fatal if used inappropriately. Online drug stores and hospitals (serving online or physically) are developed with the intention to serve needy patients with prescribed drugs. 

Children use the prescriptions of their parents to get drugs. In such cases the children often get addicted to these drugs and the parents or the drug store/hospital is unaware of the damage made due to their negligence. 


  • Online lottery websites 


It is a common practice to use the stolen identities of minors to onboard online lottery websites. These websites are exploited by criminals to wash their black money. In case a lottery website does not verify the age of its customers before onboarding them it will face multiple consequences if a criminal will launder money through their platform using the identity of a minor.

The lottery website will have to pay penalties for underage selling and non-compliance with AML regulations. So, age-verification is inevitable to avoid harsh regulatory fines and reputational loss.


  • NGOs and Govt. Pension Funds


NGOs and Government organizations have many beneficiary programs for senior citizens such programs include, food tokens, pensions, health benefits, tax deductions, etc. Criminals use the identity cards of these people to get benefits illegally. These organizations need to run KYC processes including age-verification, to reduce the loss of needy people. 


  • Legal sector


The legal sector needs to run KYC and AML screening on their customer for compliance with AML regimes. At times the legal representatives are in a situation where the rights are transferred to a person after he/she reaches a certain age. In such cases, people often use fake IDs to manipulate legal representatives. 

Online identity verification and age verification software will be very useful in such cases, as it will help the legal representatives in swift KYC screening along with age verification within a minute. It makes the whole verification process easier for the clients and the legal representatives as well. 

Government agencies can use age verification for e-voting. It will reduce the hassle and cost of election a lot. Stringent identity verification and real-time age verification measures will reduce the risk of fraud in the election. 

To wrap up, the benefits and use-cases of age verification are way beyond the general understanding of the masses. Many businesses can utilize age-verification software to increase their customer retention and fraud prevention. It helps the businesses in streamlining their security operations by onboarding secure clients.



Age Verification – Ultimate Online Protection for Minors

Age Verification – Ultimate Online Protection for Minors

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The rapid increase in the use of the internet is raising some major concerns for parents regarding the online protection of their children. With the world moving towards digitisation and smart devices, every child is now exposed to the digital world. Whether it’s about watching youtube videos or playing games online, the children are regularly using mobile phones and tablets. On the internet, no one knows who you are. The freedom of staying anonymous on the internet allows anyone to get registered on any website using any identity information. 

Generally, to register on any site, we need an email address and some personal information like name, gender, date of birth, etc. For instance, Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo provide easy access to free email accounts, without proper verification of the individuals. Any child can get a free email account and use it for age-restricted sites, i.e. dating and porn sites, gambling platforms, and online liquor stores, etc. by misinterpreting their age and identity. Similarly, the same thing goes for adults as well that they can access services and products by manipulating their age.

“Act your age” isn’t applicable anymore in the digital world

The widespread use of the internet and smart devices has exposed the minors to the dark side of the web. Although the existence of child predators, pedophiles, fraudsters and cybercriminals is not a new phenomenon, however, the ease of access to social networking and other online platforms has contributed in an unsupervised encounter between adults and minors. This has grabbed the attention of cybercriminals and fraudsters providing them another opportunity to exploit the identities of children.



Exposure of children to the internet has raised serious concerns for the parents. The curious nature of kids to explore everything online is landing them in a dark pit divulging in illegal activities. According to NHS survey of smoking, drinking and drug use among school children (11 to 15-year-olds) in England -in 2016, three percent said they were regular smokers, 74 percent said they find it very difficult to give up smoking and 6 percent said they were currently regular e-cigarette smokers. 

Moreover, minors are actively seen accessing social networking platforms and multiple age-restricted websites. The substantial risk associated with such platforms is the lack of proper age verification and authentication checks. According to the Young People and Gambling 2018 report, more than 450,000 children aged between 11 to 16 place bets regularly. Not to forget that gambling is illegal in most countries that too for minors. Furthermore, the presence of kids on the internet has resulted in increased Children Identity theft and fraud, eventually causing millions of losses for parents.

Age Verification – the need for Online Businesses

The anonymity on the internet and negligence of the businesses to confirm the age of their users is proving harmful not just for the kids and their families but for businesses as well. In the past few years, some deadly events took place due to a lack of age verification checks on the retailing stores. In 2014, a 16-year-old boy murdered the schoolfellow by brutally stabbing him with a knife. When investigated, he claimed to order a knife online from Amazon. That wasn’t the only case.

The rapid-increase of such pernicious incidents and children’s identity theft has propelled government and regulatory agencies to take steps against such incidents and come up with measures to avoid them in the future. To protect minors’ identities online and safeguarding them from age-restricted content, products, and services, the government has strictly imposed legal penalities for the businesses that fail to verify the age of their users before allowing them access to mature content. 

The businesses that don’t confirm the age of their customers before allowing access to age-restricted content can face up to two years of imprisonment and fine. According to the Digital Economy Act 2017, the commercially operated age-restricted websites must ensure that their users are 18+. In the case of failure to comply, the regulators are empowered to fine them up to £250,000 (or up to 5% of their turnover) and order the blocking of non-compliant websites.

Goals of Age Verification for Children:

Performing age verification online is essential to protect children’s privacy, ensuring their safety from cyberbullies and assuring that they don’t gain access to inappropriate and mature content.

Read this white paper on age verification to learn more.



Performing age verification online is hampered by the fact that children generally lack credentials and proof to verify their age themselves. Therefore, access to age-restricted websites and mature content is limited to the users who can prove they are adults. If the user fails to verify their age and identity, the will be straightforwardly denied access. Moreover, there are some websites that perform identity authentication for adults and on the basis of their authority as a legal guardian, age verification of their children can be performed. In this way, the parents can track their children online as well.

Online Age Verification Keeps A Tight Rein On Minors

Online Age Verification Keeps A Tight Rein On Minors

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According to The Newyork Times, online age verification is a daunting task, even for experts. However, there is an increasing need for online businesses to build a sound and robust system for users’ or buyer’s age verification. More recently, businesses have also been made legally bound, if not morally. The UK government passed a law on December 2018, which renders businesses and online services to apply age verification measures.

It isn’t that most of such websites don’t put safeguards for age verification; most of them do as they are required to do so legally. However, in most cases, such safeguards are bypassed by clever underage visitors, determined to buy age-restricted products and services. The following are the ways how some online business sectors can use digital identity solutions to keep users’ identities safe and ensure age verification requirements are followed:

Online Gaming & Gambling

Online gamers are increasingly using real currency to pay for in-game goods. Regulators allege these exchanges open up new pathways for criminals to commit digital fraud and launder money. In addition, it’s possible that online gaming could be damaging young players, eliciting gambling addiction. These concerns are prompting regulators to go for identity and age verification in the online gaming world, but each game faces its own set of challenges during identity authentication.

Another solution is liveness detection, which requires players to be physically present during the verification process so they can submit photos, video playback to confirm their identities.

Social Media

According to BBC News, renowned messaging service WhatsApp is banning under-16s from using its platform in the European Union. 

Almost all other social media services require users to be at least 13 years old to access and use their services. This includes Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Skype. There is no age restriction for watching videos on YouTube, users need to be 13 or older to have their own YouTube account.

Social media is under increased scrutiny. There have been reports in recent weeks that children as young as eight-year-olds are using dating apps. While internet security is a moving paradigm, one thing that’s clear is a lot of challenges associated with social media are about identity. Verified digital identities and effective age verification can solve several challenges that hamper a safe social media experience, especially for children and young people.

A digital identity company from the UK has been recently partnered by a social networking site Yubo, which is using their age estimation technology to flag any accounts where people appear to have misstated their age. In this regard, Yubo can be confident that individuals on their site are of appropriate age, creating a safer platform. So digital identification can curb fake social media accounts.

Online Stores-Age Restricted Products

According to a recent report by Sandhills Sentinel, one of North Carolina’s top prosecutors expanded his efforts to halt e-cigarette sales to teens on Tuesday by suing eight more manufacturers and sellers of vaping products.

Josh Stein, the Democratic attorney general is filing lawsuits against eight companies that make or sell e-cigarettes and related products to underage people. Juul Labs announced that Juul is working to implement an ID verification system that prohibits selling of e-cigarettes to underage shoppers. The company said that it has enhanced its online age verification process and stopped the sale of flavors other than tobacco and menthol in retail stores so that sales can be restricted to adults only.

The products which are age-restricted are delivered. Relying on the delivery person to verify the customer’s age comes with inherent risks. For instance, how to be certain that the delivery guy has identity and age verification expertise? Are they thorough in doing their due diligence on each customer that they deliver to? Is there a way to track the verification and authentication process? 

For instance, online alcohol sales grew tremendously in the past few years. In a recent string, it came to light that over 20% of underage people were able to buy it online through some app. So this surely can be stopped by using identity verification software. When someone orders anything, before checking out, age and identity should be verified digitally to avoid forgery and limit the sales of such products to adults only.

GDPR and Age Verification

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May, will give people much more control over how companies use their information. Rules are included to protect minors whose personal data is processed to provide online services. Most social media apps, including  Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Reddit, are restricted to those aged 13 and over. This is in part because of US law – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (Coppa) that bans online services from collecting personal information about younger children.

Facebook has launched Messenger Kids, an app for children as young as six, last December. It is an ad-free service designed to be compliant with Coppa.

Age Verification – A Legal Requirement

Whether you run an online gaming (gambling) service, or an online store selling eCigarettes, cannabis or alcohol, conducting age verification is a legal requirement in jurisdictions that permit such online activities. Like identity verification procedures, age verification shouldn’t serve the purpose of regulatory compliance alone; it needs to be designed to deliver an optimal online experience that prevents minors from entering age-restricted sites.

Online businesses should have a robust system where they can verify users’ age. Recently, businesses have been made legally bound by regulatory authorities to verify. In December 2018, the UK government managed to pass legislation that requires businesses and age-restricted online services to abide by age verification measures. Furthermore, many businesses outsource their courier services and therefore, leave the delivery person to perform an identity checks of the buyer. But not all delivery services are liable to do so. Thus there is a need for a reliable age verification service.

How Online ID Verification Supports Age-restricted Sellers?

How Online ID Verification Supports Age-restricted Sellers?

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The online stores selling age-restricted products like gaming services, medicine or drugs are in severe need of performing age verification. According to a recent study, online spendings of children are £64 million yearly which they do without the knowledge of their parents. 4 out of 5 children are making transaction through their parents’ bank cards, PayPal accounts and online accounts.
A recent study shows that two-thirds of teenagers are financially active online. They spend a lot on buying age-restricted stuff which includes gaming services, cigarettes, alcohol, cannabis, weapons, and solvents. Nearly a quarter of teenagers buy movies and video games which are intended for the higher age group. CPP, research for credit card companies shows that 1 out of 7 purchases are done by the children aged between 7 and 16.
The part of human brain that correspond to personal pleasure grows faster than the parts contributing in risk analysis and decision making. Therefore, their activities should be monitored actively and continuously to avoid several issues that might cost more than the bills teenagers pay online. Age verification is a lawful requirement in many countries to allow online activities. Online stores should have a proper age check which makes sure that on the other side, product is not sent to underage customer.

Here are a few industries that need protection against under-age identity fraud

Gaming Industry

Every industry has some set guidelines that have to be followed in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny from their concerned regulators and there are quite a few regulators governing the online gambling industry. Any online gaming and gambling platform that fails to comply with these regulations have to face huge revenue loss, strict disciplinary actions, and hefty fines.
According to a study by the Gambling Commission, 450,000 children are involved in the online gambling process. These children are the ones aged between 11 and 16 and most of them take drugs. For online gambling operations, strict rules are defined. The children under 18 cannot be part of the gambling community. The legal age is 18, in some areas it is 19 or 21. The online buying by less than the judiciary defined age is not allowed and is considered illegal.
Online Gambling is not the only digital menace haunting minors on cyberspace but there are multiple age-restricted products that teenagers are buying online such as

Vapes and e-Cigarettes

According to the 2018 report of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, 78% of high school students are using e-cigarettes. In just one year (2017-2018), e-Cigarettes usage has increased from 11.7% to 20.8%. A proposal is given by the FDA in which access to nicotine products is restricted to teenagers (under 18).
UNC research shows that online vapes and e-cigarettes are easily available at very cheap prices available in multiple flavors delivered on demand. There is no strict verification process available online and vendors are delivering tobacco openly. Now, due to strict local regulatory rules, online vapes and cigarettes have been baned to the under-age community and the judiciary has made age-verification mandatory in the regulatory.


The study of new data from Slice Intelligence shows that alcohol delivery has grown 32.7% in 2017 and it is increasing by the average rate of 3% every month. Online orders through mobile apps have increased to 20% by teenagers. This increase in underage drinkers shows a great risk which online marketplace pays in the form of heavy fines.
All the online stores should make their system free from under-age buyers. This will not only leave a negative emphasis on the health of teenagers but also the reputation of the company will be damaged.

Cannabis and Medical Marijuana

The mainstream of legal deliverance of cannabis globally has impacted everything. The cannabis industry is one of the fast-growing industry today. According to BDS and Arcview Market Research, the global spending of cannabis by consumers will increase 3 times ($32B) by 2022.
Medical Marijuana is supplied legally in the US. Teenagers are taking advantage of it and online stores are delivering their consumers without any proper age verification.
Many companies take service from the third-party delivery system who delivers the order to their customer. As they need to quickly deliver a large number of orders, the verification at a delivery time can be somehow dodged and it would be hefty for the third party delivery system to send the parcel back to the company with additional overhead. Also in many cases, the customer leaves a note by the door; ‘not at home’. So there is no way for the delivery person to identify and verify the identity of a person.

Online ID Verification is the Solution

Online ID verification helps in ensuring compliance especially for the companies selling age-restricted products online. For the verification purpose, customer’s personal information should be obtained and matched against an independent database. This data could include name, date of birth, geolocation, email, contact number and other essential information based on the company’s requirement. The information is matched accordingly to verify the identity and is further processed with the transaction. The onboarding process should be quick to ensure good user experience, but age should be verified through the instant age verification to reduce the risks of online fraud by teenagers.

What other methods can help verify the age of the customer to allow product delivery?

In this new era of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based technological advancements, age verification can be done through facial recognition, image verification (with liveness detection), identity card verification and biometric. The person who wants to buy something will have to first verify his age in the onboard process. AI techniques will match the identity (through anyway) of the customer with the stored database and will give the status of accepted or rejected. In this way, it would be hard for the under-age community to buy restricted products online without any proper consent.

Identity Theft is one of the major concerns of customers… How to deal with it?

For any online marketplace, it is mandatory to run the system under certain compliances proposed by the government. In that regulatory compliance, online stores make sure that the customer identity is used for the legal purpose and will not be sold to any third party. Any flexibility regarding privacy affairs is unacceptable by the law and will result in heavy fines and strict lawsuits against the company.


The online marketplace that sells age-restricted products should ensure that through their system, under-age children are not making any transaction. For this, there should be age verification of the customers onboard which can be achieved through AI-based techniques. Age verification helps the seller to allow purchases only for adults and reduce the chances of usage of age-restricted products by teenagers.

Age Verification Service – How Businesses can Identify Underage Visitors in Real Time?

Age Verification Service – How Businesses can Identify Underage Visitors in Real Time?

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When it comes online retail, one has to know that in such an age of fast-moving technology and increasing accessibility to products and services online, there is nothing that is not available online these days. Businesses need to understand that adult content or alcohol is not even the half of it. There is a significant portion of products and services available online that are largely age restrictive. Herein comes the need for business to utilise a reliable age verification service.

A lot of businesses leave age verification to their couriers or to simple ID checks which can be tricked by smart teenagers looking to buy alcohol online or to avail any other service for that matter. Services or products generally available online that need to be put age restrictions to include alcohol, adult content, dating websites, gambling services, online gaming, pharmaceuticals, weapons, inflammable substances and PG-rated entertainment. Alarmingly, a study found that more than half of e-commerce sites fail to verify their buyer’s age.

Age Verification – A Growing Concern

It isn’t that most of such websites do not put safeguards against age; most of them do as they are required to do so legally. However, in most cases, such safeguards are bypassed by clever underage visitors, determined to buy age restrictive products and services.

One method used by websites is a simple popup on entering, that verifies a user’s age from their social media account. In such cases, underage users often make sure to increase their age on their SM accounts. In other cases, websites require users to make accounts or to enter their credit card details to purchase services. Some will also use email verification to verify the online user, wherein the registered user will receive an email to check if they are the ones using a particular product or service.

The Need for Reliable Age Verification Service

There is an increasing need for online businesses to build a sound and robust system where they can verify their users’ or buyer’s age. More recently, businesses have also been made legally bound, if not morally. In December of 2018, the UK government managed to approve legislation that now requires businesses and age restrictive online services to adopt age verification measures. Moreover, in the case of products, a lot of businesses outsource their courier services and therefore leave the delivery person to perform an identity check of the buyer. But not all delivery services may deem themselves to be liable to do so. Thus the need for a reliable age verification service.

Read: Why 2 Factor Authentication is vital for Online Identity Risk Management?

Failure to comply with legal restrictions placed on online businesses to verify their user’s age can open them to huge repercussions that are not only legally damaging but can be a blow to their reputation as well. It is also necessary to understand that stuff like adult content and alcohol are not the only age restrictive substances that are sold online. Online gambling, gaming and pharmaceuticals and weapons can also fall under this umbrella. The necessity of online age verification for such businesses can be understood by the incident where a 16-year-old ended up stabbing a fellow school mate with a knife he bought from Amazon.

How to Implement Age Verification Checks Online?

In a growingly tech-savvy environment, identity verification solutions have become increasingly convenient. With ID verification services businesses can now implement multiple layers of checks to verify a customer’s age. Shufti Pro’s identity verification services include document verification along with face verification. This enables businesses to implement verifying checks to corroborate a user’s age.

Through Shufti Pro’s age verification service, businesses can ask the user to scan his/her ID document wherein our AI based authentication protocols will scan the user’s date of birth to determine their age. After corroborating their age the verification software will ask for the user’s face verification wherein the facial recognition software will scan the user’s face in real time. Our facial recognition software uses liveness detection and 3D depth analysis to verify if the user is the same person whose ID was shown initially. All these identity checks are performed by the software in realtime that will not waste a single second of the user’s time.

Are Age Verification Services Secure?

Online age verification is a completely secure method to verify online users’ age. For both the business and the end user, such a service can enable them to implement safer and ethical business practices. All identity verification services are legally bound by data protection laws to keep a user’s data secure. No third party is allowed access to such data and

With growing legal and moral implications, it is imperative for online businesses to employ an age verification service for all sorts of age restrictive content. In doing so they may be able to avoid any legal or moral repercussions not to mention maintain good credit to their name.


Why age verification matters to online businesses?

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Identity verification services are fast becoming a business norm for companies that are enthusiastic about cutting down on losses originating from online frauds and identity thefts. But not all KYC verification is performed to cut down on losses. Sometimes, companies use KYC services like Age verification in order to ascertain the age brackets in which a particular user falls in. Now the benefits of using Age verification services from a reliable KYC provider vary from company to company. But before we discuss why you might be in need of Age verification, it is important that you are briefed about age verification and how it is performed by top identity verification services around the globe.

Age verification services

As the name suggests, Age verification is performed to check for the age of a user or a potential customer. Usually, a customer provides a tentative age or maybe their date of birth while signing up for a service or registering with an online business. While a basic KYC system will be checking for facial verification and authenticity of the identity document provided by an end-user, an advanced KYC software will also check for the age of a user to make sure that the age bracket or the date of birth provided by the user is valid.

How Age verification is performed?

Like an ordinary date of birth verification, age verification is also performed with the help of an official identity document. It is important to check the authenticity of an official document before it is used to ascertain the age of a user. Most of the time, a company that wants to perform age verification for its users, also provides an age bracket or an age limit to KYC provider. At the start of the age verification, a user is asked to tell their age by the automated system. Afterward, a separate screen is displayed, instructing the user to show an authentic identity document with their date of birth clearly mentioned on it. Identity verification system cross-checks the date of birth with the provided date and then performs age verification by checking that whether a user falls in a particular age bracket or not, or that the user is within the prescribed age limit or not.

You might think that why a company would require to perform Lifetime Analysis for its users if they have already validated the date of birth of a user. Valid Question! here is your answer. In a typical date of birth verification service, an identity verification system only checks that the date of birth provided by a user is also mentioned on the official identity document. Age verification goes a step further from that. It not only checks the date of birth from an authentic identity document, but this service also makes sure that a user falls into a particular age bracket.

Why Age verification is performed?

Age verification can be performed for a number of reasons and it all depends on the business model of the company that wants to utilize this kind of verification service. A social networking website specifically designed for teens can use age verification to avoid users that don’t fall in the age limit of 13-19. Banks or insurance services can use age verification services to allow users to sign-up for age-specific services e.g. retirement fund registration, old age health care plans and many more similar packages.

Age verification can also come handy for businesses that want to only register or sell services to a specific category of users to avoid encountering online trolls and unnecessary user traffic. This kind of identity verification feature is also perfect for companies that don’t want to actually stop people of a certain age from signing up for their services but that want to bracket their users in specific age groups for the purpose of analysis and customer behavior studies.  

Services from Shufti Pro

Shufti Pro is an AI-based identity verification system that also offers age verification service to its customers. With an ability to verify identity documents from every country of the globe and with the added bonus of Universal Language Support, Shufti Pro becomes the perfect choice for companies with a worldwide presence. Real-time verification results are provided to Shufti Pro customers with proof of verification available 24 hours to our clients in Shufti Pro back office.

With “Pay As You Go” pricing feature, you will only be required to pay for the verifications that you perform without being bound to any monthly limit of minimum verifications. Our customer support is totally free of cost while our RestFull API makes integration process entirely hassle-free for our customers. In case you need, our technical team will be more than happy to address any of your concerns about any integration related problem or functioning of age verification module.

Not a single second will be wasted in downtime if you decide to integrate Age verification module of Shufti Pro with your online services. If you combine document verification with age verification, Shufti Pro’s hybrid technology of Artificial and Human Intelligence will ensure that only verified and authentic identity documents are used by your future potential user base to perform Age verification. So your journey to build a reliable customer base starts with the top of the line verification services from Shufti Pro.