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When I walked into the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural One World Identity Conference (a.k.a. K(NO)W), I exchanged a laugh with another exhibitor emptying his pockets into the x-ray bin – “Talk about introducing user friction!” Love a good-bad conference joke.

There was a mix of attendees, including identity experts, government officials, business leaders, startup heads, and members of academia. The broad representation allowed attendees and speakers to learn how the importance of “getting identity verification right” is a priority across sectors. Sessions covered a broad range of identity verification topics and solutions, including document verification, blockchain technologies, and biometrics.

Here are a handful of topics that stood out to me:

  • Fraud detection is not a competitive advantage: unless there is collaboration within the industry, the fraudster that steals from me today will steal from you tomorrow.
  • Customer trust and safety is contributing to user growth: everyone is trying to strike the right balance between friction with robust identity verification. Businesses that can move good customers through the identity verification process with minimal user inputs are a step ahead of the competition.
  • The long con: synthetic identity fraud: since it takes time to curate each synthetic identity, there is an inherent lag between when a synthetic identity is ‘born’ and when it can begin perpetrating fraud. As such, losses associated with this type of fraud are expected to dramatically increase over the next 5 years if preventative actions aren’t taken.
  • Businesses that are using risk management solutions need to do a better job of defining loss outcomes: bucketing everything as a generic ‘bad outcome’ makes it very hard for risk solutions to identify effective, nuanced fraud prevention signals. For example, online lenders that don’t differentiate between default and fraud are doing themselves a disservice, since fraud-specific signals that could be used to prevent bad originations are likely being buried by the noise of credit-worthiness (or lack thereof).
  • Lastly, there’s a huge need in the market for better global identity verification solutions to help mitigate fraud across industries. Fortunately, I was able to share our expertise in this area and communicate the importance of taking a multi-layered approach to global risk management.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the rich conversations on identity and fraud prevention.

To hear more from One World Identity and Whitepages Pro, check out this podcast on consumer access and identity verification in the financial services marketplace.

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