age verification checks

How to run an effective age verification/age check program to ensure compliance and avoid penalties

Children are our most precious assets. They are, after all, the future.

Some will seek out content and products prohibited to minors, such as gambling, adult entertainment or purchase of spirits and alcohol. Of course, for brick and mortar establishments, it’s pretty easy to check ID and say get lost kid to under-aged customers. But how do you quickly verify someone’s age before they access restricted content or purchase age-restricted products online?

Socially responsible companies will take all reasonable precautions to prevent minors from accessing their services. Increasingly, it’s not acceptable to put up some half-hearted block screen that is brain-dead simple to bypass. Recently proposed UK laws call for more stringent age checks on all adult websites. Considering the results of the US election, similar legislation in the US is possible.

For online gaming or gambling operations, strict verification rules have been in place almost from the beginning. In the US, gambling is (mostly) under state legislation and states with online gambling — New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware — all have age verification requirements. In the UK, proper age verification checks were part of the Gambling Bill from 2005. Failure to comply not only breaks the law – leading to disciplinary action, lost revenues, and heavy fines – but it can also result in significant reputational damage.

So, then, how does an online organization properly check age without introducing friction? The whole idea of online is to bypass any manual processes, so requiring actual documents only creates more friction. There is a need to verify age online using the latest data and technologies.

Age and ID Verification

This is one of the ways companies leverage GlobalGateway, Trulioo’s identity verification API. By providing secure access to reliable data sources to verify a person’s age instantly, businesses can safely grant age-appropriate visitors to their site while keeping minors out.  The identity data provided by the visitor is checked against independent databases to see if the information positively matches.

If the identity data passes the age and identity verification rules set by the business, the visitor is  granted access. If the information provided by the visitor does not pass, the visitor is blocked from accessing the site, and the business may choose to perform enhanced due diligence.

The information set to consider is growing; people are increasingly leaving a wider digital footprint. For online casinos, where they need to consider the location of the person, geolocation is useful. Email addresses or phone numbers can be actively incorporated into the process, providing out-of-band support.

Two-Form Authentication

For example, an email confirmation or text message is sent out with a unique code to enter online. While these two-form authentication techniques aren’t directly an identity verification process, the contact information is gathered via the process and works together to provide a high level of confidence.

In the not-too-distant future, adding biometric data to the information set is very likely. Unique identifying information such as fingerprint, voiceprint or eye scan will soon make verifying age that much easier for online organizations. For underage kids trying to pass as adults, it’ll be much more difficult for them to gain access to restricted content and products; and businesses can effectively incorporate social responsibility into their business model while adhering to compliance obligations and safeguarding their business from penalties.