The Challenges Of Verifying Identity When The Client Is Abroad

As fraud becomes increasingly sophisticated, digital identity checks can play a vital role in protecting both conveyancing firms and clients from identity theft and related scams

– The Council of Licensed Conveyancers ‘CLC Conveyancing Tech Guide’

Verifying a client’s identity is time-consuming and adds significant cost to the bottom line, but what are the challenges with those clients that you never meet, because they instruct from abroad?

  • Impersonation frauds are increasing – you do not want clients to risk sending valuable personal documents through the post, not to mention the time it would take to courier the documents back and forth
  • Naming conventions – the same name can be written in multiple different ways depending on which country they originate from. For example, the name Mohammed is written in more than 50 different ways across the world
  • Character length/space limitations – on forms some people’s names can be truncated due to the limited space available. This throws up issues when it comes to name matching and verifying identity
  • Cultural discrepancies – the way a name is presented can differ from country to country. For example, in the UK the ordering could be First Name, Middle Name, Surname whereas in China, their ordering is Family Name First, the Surname contains mother’s maiden name
  • International ID documents – how do you know what an international driving license or passport should look like, or if it is original?

You could get another professional to verify your client’s identity but how can you ensure that the person is legitimate? You could source a 3rd party ID checking service, but this will increase the cost of verifying the identity of your client.

Obtaining fake ID documents is a fairly simple process. There are numerous websites where you can buy fake passports, ID cards and bank statements, and we know that this type of crime is on the rise. Unless you’re an expert in various county’s ID papers, you may find it near impossible to spot a fake.

This is where technology can help bridge the gap and give you peace of mind that the identification you receive is indeed the client who is instructing you.

Some software can combine facial recognition technology with document scanning, which gives you the confidence to know your clients are who they say they are.

Your firm should be keen to improve the way you on board both national and international clients to protect your practice and improve your systems.

We are delighted to announce our most recent partnership with next generation ID tool Thirdfort.

Thirdfort combines facial recognition technology and document verification into a mobile phone app, to enable you to verify your client ID in minutes. It has the ability to check 4,500 different types of documents spanning 195 nationalities (out of 226).

Now available directly through Lawyer Checker, we’d encourage you to book your demonstration with a member of our team. Please call 0800 133 7127 or email

You may be interested in our recent webinars

This article was submitted to be published by Lawyer Checker as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Family Lawyer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Family Lawyer. 

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