Verifying your identity in the gig economy

It is no longer a novelty to use apps to order a service like hiring a private driver to take you to your destination or deliver your groceries

The gig economy is now so ingrained into our daily lives that Mastercard estimates global gig economy transactions, including everything from ride-sharing to freelance professionals, will reach $455 billion by 2023, a figure larger than the GDP of many countries. 

The gig economy depends on convenience, speed, and trust. The individual requesting the service must trust that the gig worker they have hired has been vetted and is who they claim to be. The gig worker must have the same level of trust in the person getting into their car or inviting them into their home.  

When registering new employees and clients, some organisations operating gig platforms create a baseline identification verification requirement; however, this degree of ID verification is not universal. With the gig economy maturing and fraud and safety concerns becoming more complex, it is essential for companies that rely on public trust to implement security measures that authenticate identities at both ends of a gig transaction. 

Any company doing business online should prioritise assuring its customers that their data is safe. Here are three considerations for companies to bear in mind when conducting business, especially gig platform companies that specialise in fast-turn relationships with their employees and clients, all of whom come and go. 

Establish a reliable identification verification system 

If you haven’t already deployed a full-featured identification verification system to prove the identity of new customers and gig or freelance workers, this should be a top priority for your immediate future. 

With the rapid rise of deepfakes, spoofs and other nefarious technologies, online criminals can create a fake identity and even a completely new persona with just a sliver of data or a photo from an actual person, all readily available, thanks to social media, to defraud you – or your customers by acting in your name. 

Today’s enterprise-level ID verification systems provide professional-grade protection that does not impact the quality customer experience your success depends on. They ensure the protocols for opening an account are strong enough to validate a users’ identity and prevent unauthorised account sharing. Further, they combat fraudulent account takeovers, yet do not cause friction that frustrates customers or prompts them to take their business elsewhere. 

The most powerful ID verification systems combine several technologies, including biometrics, to form the “linked and layered” system of protection most recommended by security professionals. 

Ensure your customer’s trust  

Once an enterprise-grade ID verification system is in place, not only will your company be safer, but you will also now have a powerful marketing tool. People want to do business with companies they trust. Some brands have invested years in building a name and developing a following that inherently trusts the company, but that’s rare. Most companies will benefit by clearly and up-front sharing how much they value their customers’ trust. 

Let your customers and gig workers know that you take their protection and the security of their transactions seriously and you will win their loyalty. 

Transition from initial ID verification to ongoing authentication 

Even as we strengthen the security system that regulates how people open online accounts with our companies, security experts are starting to discuss the benefits of ongoing ID authentication; a method of ensuring that the person you enrolled as a customer is still the person you are doing business with. That’s not as outlandish as it sounds. Account takeovers do happen, especially when thieves gain access to an individual’s or even a company’s accounts, leading to the theft of bank accounts, passwords and data that can put a company at serious risk. 

Fighting online fraud will always be a game of cat and mouse.  But, for every thief prepared to use cutting-edge technology to steal people’s money and identities, there are committed identity protection specialists working around the clock to keep one step ahead of them. 

About the Author

Sanjay Gupta is SVP and Managing Director at Mitek. Mitek is a global leader in digital access, founded to bridge the physical and digital worlds.

Featured image: ©Vchalup