What is Identity Proofing?

Identity proofing, also known as identity verification, verifies that an identity is legitimate and that the person presenting it is the rightful owner. Despite its taxing nature, it is one of the foremost gatekeepers of financial security, and as a result, our global economy. We discuss the definition and types of identity-proofing solutions below.

What is Identity Proofing?

The CSRC describes “Identity Proofing is the process of providing sufficient information (e.g., identity history, credentials, documents) to establish an identity.”

In essence, it is a two-step verification process:

  • Claimed Identity: Includes details such as your name, address, and possibly your Social Security number that you provide.
  • Actual Identity: This is where things get interesting. Identity proofing checks if the information you provided actually matches a real person.Identity Proofing

Why is Identity Proofing Important?

Identity proofing helps prevent:

  • Account Takeovers: Cybercriminals have the ability to access and use your personal information to gain control of your accounts, resulting in potential financial losses or damage to your reputation.
  • Fraudulent Transactions: Identity proofing assists businesses in confirming they are interacting with genuine customers, thus minimizing the likelihood of fraudulent transactions.
  • Money Laundering: Money laundering can be prevented by confirming identities, which stops criminals from using online platforms for illegal activities.

Types of Identity Proofing

In today’s cyber world, with our identities always circulating online, it is crucial to verify people’s identities. This is when identity verification becomes important, using a variety of methods to verify that you are dealing with an authentic person. With such a plethora of choices available, how can you determine the optimal one? Get ready, as we are going to explore the intriguing realm of techniques for proving identity.

1: Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA)

Remember those security questions you set up for your online accounts? KBA is the mastermind behind them. It tests your knowledge of personal details, like your childhood pet’s name or your first car. While convenient, KBA’s effectiveness hinges on the chosen questions. If easily obtainable from social media, it becomes less secure.

2: Document Verification

This method is the digital equivalent of showing your ID. You submit digitized or photographed copies of official government documents such as passports or driver’s licenses. Advanced versions employ technological means to verify authenticity, such as holograms or embedded software. While reliable, document verification can be cumbersome and susceptible to forgery of high-quality fakes.

3: Biometric Verification

This high-tech method uses the unique things about your body to prove who you are. Think of fingerprint readers, cams that can recognize faces or even iris scanners. Biometrics provide very high security, but there are worries about data protection and possible biases in the technology.

4: Out-of-Band Verification

By using a different communication channel, this method adds an extra layer of safety. Let’s say you sign up for a new service that sends a verification code to the phone number that is tied to your email address. It proves that you can access both, which makes it less likely that someone will use stolen information to pretend to be you.

5: Credit Bureau Checks

For financial institutions, credit bureau checks can be a valuable tool. By accessing your credit report with your consent, they can verify your identity based on your financial history and loan information. This method is particularly useful for high-value transactions or establishing financial credibility.

6: Data Analytics and Machine Learning

These state-of-the-art algorithms assess vast databases to create a complete picture of a person’s internet activity. They can find anomalies that could point to fraudulent activity by looking at factors like IP address, device history, and even typing habits. Even though they are strong, any biases and data privacy issues must be carefully considered.

  • Choosing the Right Identity Proofing Method For You:

The ideal identity-proofing method depends on the level of security required. Low-risk situations like social media might only require KBA, while high-value financial transactions might necessitate a combination of document verification and biometrics.

Digital Defense: How to Prevent Identity Theft with ID Verification

Difference Between Identity Proofing and Identity Verification

As trust in the digital sphere is based on ones and zeroes, it’s imperative to make sure you’re communicating with the correct individual. Identity verification and identity proofing are two highly related ideas that are relevant here. Although they both aim to secure online interactions, there are a few minor distinctions between them.

Identity Proofing

Think of identity proofing as the initial meet-and-greet. It’s the process of collecting evidence to support someone’s claimed identity.

This evidence can take various forms:

  • Documents: Uploading scans of passports, driver’s licenses, or utility bills.
  • Biometrics: Utilizing fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, or voice analysis.
  • Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA): Answering questions based on personal details like birthplaces or past addresses.

By gathering this evidence, identity proofing creates a profile of the individual claiming a specific identity.

Identity Verification

Now, imagine verifying the legitimacy of the documents or information presented during identity proofing. That’s the realm of identity verification. It involves verifying the collected evidence by comparing it with trustworthy sources to confirm its genuineness and precision.

Here’s how it works:

  • Document Verification: Checking for security features in IDs, verifying issuing authorities, and potentially utilizing databases to confirm validity.
  • Biometric Verification: Comparing the captured biometric data (fingerprint, facial scan) against pre-enrolled templates or databases.
  • KBA Verification: Cross-referencing answers with information on file with trusted institutions (like credit bureaus) with the user’s consent.

Identity verification essentially validates whether the evidence presented during identity proofing aligns with reality.

Building vs. Checking

The core difference lies in the approach. Identity proofing focuses on building a profile based on the information presented. Identity verification steps in to scrutinize that profile, ensuring its accuracy and legitimacy.

How does Identity Proofing work?

In today’s digital realm, where our identities flit through countless online interactions, verifying who’s who is paramount. Enter identity proofing, a multi-layered security system that acts like a digital fortress, safeguarding both users and organizations. But how exactly does this process work? Let’s embark on a journey to explore the intricate steps involved in identity proofing.

Stage 1: Data Collection

Imagine applying for membership at a club. The first step involves providing your details – name, address, maybe even a phone number. Similarly, identity proofing begins with data collection. Here, organizations utilize an Identity and Access Management System (IAM).

This digital filing cabinet stores your identity information, acting as your digital profile. The IAM also controls your access privileges, akin to the different areas you can access within the club (restricted areas for management, general access for regular members).

Stage 2: Data Validation

Now, the club manager might check your application against official documents. Data validation performs a similar function. Here’s how it ensures the information you provided is accurate:

  • Company Verification: For businesses, this might involve checking if they’re officially registered. Documents, credit history, and even Employer Identification Numbers (EIN) come under scrutiny.
  • Online Footprint Analysis: A legitimate company typically has a well-established online presence, with positive reviews and a clear track record. Data validation scans for these signs of legitimacy.

Stage 3: Customer Identity Verification

Once your company’s legitimacy is confirmed, the club might check your ID to ensure you’re authorized to enter specific areas. Customer identity verification fulfills this role in the digital world. Depending on the situation, the process can vary:

  • Individual Users: Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a frequent obstacle in this case. This requires additional verification processes, such as numbers delivered to your phone or email, in addition to passwords. Certain websites may even use “identify the traffic light” tests, or CAPTCHAs, to make sure you’re a human and not a malicious bot.
  • Businesses: Financial institutions, for instance, might require verification of your authority within the company. Do you have the power to make financial decisions? Banks often confirm this by requesting a list of authorized signers and verifying their signatures.

Stage 4: Continued Authentication

Security doesn’t stop at the initial verification. Just like the club might occasionally check your ID for ongoing membership, organizations employ continued authentication measures:

  • Regular Password Updates: Frequent password changes make unauthorized access more difficult.
  • Verifying Contact Information: Updating your phone number and email ensures you receive vital security codes.
  • Evolving Password Requirements: Passwords might become more complex over time, making them harder to crack.
  • Periodic MFA: Even if you opt out of MFA on a specific device, institutions might still require it occasionally for added security.
  • Re-verification Requests: If suspicious activity is detected (like too many failed login attempts), you might need to re-verify your identity.

KYC Hub Identity Verification Solution


Identity proofing emerges as a crucial guardian in the age of anonymity. Remember, a strong digital identity is an essential shield in today’s online world. By demystifying the intricate steps involved in identity proofing, you gain valuable insight into online security measures. Remember, a secure digital identity is the foundation for a safe and thriving online experience for everyone.

KYC Hub steps in as your trusted partner, offering a comprehensive suite of identity verification solutions to empower your business. Our system analyzes government-issued IDs for authenticity, minimizing the risk of forged documents. Investing in KYC Hub is an investment in the security and efficiency of your business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you streamline your identity verification process.

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