In the early days of the internet, anyone who wanted to hide behind a fake identity found few barriers to doing so. In fact, with limited online databases and few reliable methods to confirm a person’s identity, creating an alternate online persona was relatively easy. Today, however, verification tools have never been smarter. Whether you need to prove your own identity or you want to confirm that others truly are who they claim to be, you can use these seven online identity verification tools.
As online background check services, such as CheckThem’s people search tool, become more effective and offer more in-depth search options, it’s harder than ever for people to keep their identities under wraps. For instance, just because you meet great-looking potential dates on an online platform doesn’t mean you have to take them at their word. Why trust that your potential love interest owns multiple homes, has a lucrative career, or has never been married?
With a simple online background check, you can search all available public records, including marriage and divorce records, employment history, and civil records. If you want to dig deeper, you can even perform a specialized background check that searches for arrest records and criminal history. Knowing about any red flags in advance can save you time and help you stay safe.
Of course, you can just as easily use these online identity verification tools to check up on someone you meet in person, too. Before you invite that distant relative over to watch the kids or before you get too chummy with the new neighbors, it may be in your best interest to do a quick and easy online background check. Verifying that they are who they say they are and that they have nothing to hide can be the first step toward building a trusting relationship.
Social Media Check
While a background check can reveal virtually everything that’s on the public record, a social media check uncovers a different level of information. First, you need to know how to find the person in question on social media. CheckThem’s people search tool often turns up links to social media profiles, so that’s a great place to start. You can also try typing the person’s name, phone number, or email address directly into the social platform’s search bar.
Depending on the person’s privacy settings, you could encounter a few different levels of information. For instance, people who have public profiles on Instagram or Twitter effectively share everything they’ve ever posted. Those who use Facebook privacy settings can share posts with the public, friends, or friends of friends, which could affect the types of posts and the level of information you can see. Keep in mind that if you want to keep your own online social life under wraps, you’ll want to keep the privacy settings as strict as possible, no matter which platform you prefer.
When you need to verify your own identity, such as when you sign up for a new account or service online, you could have a handful of choices at your fingertips. Some online platforms require what’s known as documentary verification. This method requires you to submit a scan or a photo of your identification, which could be a driver’s license, a state or military ID, or a passport.
Most online services require more than one form of ID to confirm your identity and decrease the chance that you’re acting fraudulently. They generally use online databases to confirm the validity of any ID forms to cut down on false representation.
Numerous high-level online services, such as banks and other financial institutions, rely on knowledge-based authentication to confirm your identity. These questions can be static or dynamic, but all are based on your personal history.
Static knowledge-based authentication generally refers to security questions that you personally establish on a platform. For instance, if you forget your online banking password, you may have to answer a few static security questions to regain access. These can include anything from your mother’s maiden name to your spouse’s birthdate.
In contrast, dynamic knowledge-based authentication is automatically generated by a service that can access credit reports and other personal data. Questions can range from your mortgage history to the number of accounts you have with a certain bank and beyond.
Though many online services rely on the above security measures, a person who knows you very well, such as your spouse, or a person who has extensive access to your personal background may be able to answer even the most challenging verification questions. That’s why some companies rely on two-step verification to protect your personal data and prevent online theft.
For companies such as Google, the two-step verification process requires you to perform a couple of different procedures, possibly on multiple devices. For instance, if you’ve activated two-step verification and you sign into your email account on a new computer, you may automatically prompt Google to send a text to the mobile number that it already has on file for you. That means you’ll need access to both the email account and the linked phone to unlock the account.
When you want the ultimate authentication method, biometric verification is essential. This method is based on the unique features of your body, which means no one else can pretend to be you.
To put biometric verification to work, online platforms must use special technology, such as fingerprint sensors or retina scanners. Using the basic principles of this technology may get easier in the near future, however. For instance, Amazon is considering accepting selfies as payment verification, but users may have to undergo additional two-step verification to finalize the authentication process.
As the number of online scams only continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to protect your personal data and confirm the identity of anyone you deal with online. Don’t hesitate to use tools such as CheckThem’s people search to learn more about the people you meet online, and always use high-level verification to keep your identity safe on the internet.