Inventing Anna - how to avoid the Annas of the world and protect your business

Posted by National Crime Check on 2022-03-29

Inventing Anna is the hot new show on Netflix and it’s no wonder, it’s got it all - high-class hotels, lavish parties, private jet travel to exotic destinations, an indistinguishable European accent, along with a long con that is gradually revealed to viewers.

The show dramatises the life of Anna Sorokin, a young woman who created an entirely fictionalised identity as Anna Delvey, a rich German heiress living it up in New York City. Anna manipulates people, hotels and banks to support this false identity and is successful for several years as she weaves a wild web of money across the city and gains investment for her new business venture from cashed-up investors.

The ease with which Anna was able to manipulate and defraud people and businesses made us don our “work hats” and think, “if only they had implemented thorough screening protocols, these people and businesses could have been much more protected against the risk and significant losses incurred…”

If you’re in the business of providing high-value goods and services or large volume transactions, the implementation of identity screening can help protect your business from others who might have the same devious idea. Because Anna’s con is just the tip of the iceberg - identity fraud for the general public is on the way up. The US Consumer Sentinel Network reports that identity fraud in the US more than doubled from 650,000 in 2019 to nearly 1.4 million reported events in 2020, and this trend has similarly been felt around the world.

The pandemic has helped to drive this growth through significant increases in online activity, both in financial transactions and general sharing of information. Sensitive information therefore became much more available to fraudsters and they were able to exploit this information to transact and apply for new accounts under their assumed identity.

Identity fraud causes significant financial detriment to both the person whose identity has been stolen along with the business that is defrauded. And as any business owner knows, these types of fraudulent transactions are a headache of written-off money and time spent on administration to unravel its effects.

Prevention is therefore the best cure and that’s where identity fraud screening products can provide significant benefits.

For businesses like banks, financial institutions and real estate, identity screening and verification is part of the Know Your Customer (KYC) regulatory requirements but we would argue that identity verification is vital for any businesses providing big-ticket purchases and high volume transactions. It’s especially a no-brainer when identity screening applications are cheaper and easier to implement than ever before.

One cost-effective tool for businesses to use is InstaID+ by National Crime Check. InstaID+ enables users to conduct quick and convenient identity screening by sending a link to applicants or customers with which they can take photos of themselves and their identification documents for checking.

The online application then uses market-leading facial biometric technology to compare the images, with the ultimate goal of confirming identities, minimising fraud, and onboarding customers quickly and easily. InstaID+ offers the added benefits of integrating identity verification with an Australian Federal Government DVS check, full forensic document examination, and personalised support options for users.

If you’d like to learn more about InstaID+ in order to protect your business from potential fraudulent characters like Anna, get in touch here.