AML experts SmartSearch warn firms in property sector of increased threat of fraud in lockdown

Commenting on the latest lockdown measures, John Dobson, CEO at AML specialists SmartSearch, said: “Although in some ways it feels a lot like March 2020 all over again, there are some significant differences this time around. Not least, businesses have much more idea of what to expect and how to deal with operating in a lockdown scenario. And, crucially, sectors such as the property market will still be able to function.

“However, the order from the Government to return to working from home means once again those regulated businesses that require ID verification for customer onboarding processes, will be vulnerable to money laundering and attempts at financial fraud.

“The big shift we expect to see is many more businesses in that sector looking to electronic verification to onboard customers more securely. Not only is it more secure and quicker, it is also Covid-safe as it’s all done digitally.

“The technology is available to make a remote ID check for an individual online in less than two seconds, and a check for business in less than three minutes, with bank account checks, facial recognition and document verification to deliver additional layers of security for clients that are seriously risk averse. These are browser-based systems that can be up and running within 24 hours.

“It looks as if these restrictions will be in place for several months, so businesses need to have the systems in place to ensure they are compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) legislation.

“A lot of firms were targeted last year and fell victim to fraudsters because ID verification processes were manual and outdated.

“This time around there’s no excuse for leaving those gaps in security wide open for exploitation by criminals, with electronic verification as the only viable alternative today.”