Is the selfie the new social security card?

We recently sat down with Veratad CEO & Founder, John E. Ahrens, to talk about the digital transformation of identity, the power in scaling your solutions, & the opportunities available to organizations leaning on innovative technology to protect their data and customers.

John provided key insights about security & identity and how you can be implementing the right solutions for your organization to protect yourself. 

Veratad is a global provider of age verification, identity verification, fraud prevention and compliance solutions. All of their verification solutions are designed to protect consumer privacy and protect personal private information of their clients and customers including companies small and large. 

Businesses all over the world use their solutions to mitigate the risk of fraud, meet compliance requirements, & protect the identity and the privacy of their customers. The technology behind Veratad has been around since 2006 and has evolved as the world’s security needs have changed. 

Aaron prompted John a bit further on this point, and John shared: 

“Back in 2006, the whole world was a different place, right? You know, in our business, especially in technology, we all know that a year is sometimes a lifetime. So, we are talking about 15 years ago, in the very earliest stages of verifying someone in a not-present transaction, and those early days relied very heavily on data.”

John went on to further share how in the beginning, their process leveraging data and using APIs was really about checking data points against data points. Even then, the financial services and banking communities,  key verticals for Veratad, were struggling with online fraud. At that time the guidance that came from the FFIEC (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council) suggested the use of Knowledge-based Authentication in the form of multiple choice out-of-wallet challenge questions which were based on non-public personal information data points. 

Data privacy and capture has evolved significantly over time, and with it there has been an increase of data breaches. Unfortunately, many dark web sites have developed in recent years, where a bad actor could find information on just about everybody including date of birth, Social Security, and more. 

For Veratad, a pivot occurred as the team evaluated the possibility of collecting an identity document online in lieu of just the data. Ahrens went on to say “So today, you know, we still check data. We all do that, Veratad does that on a global basis. We have access to data on over 4.5 billion citizens worldwide. So, the data is still being used. Additionally, biometrics is playing a big role right now. That’s also happening, big implications for privacy and security, as you might imagine.”

Veratad is obsessed with data security.  In terms of the data that they interact with, whether it’s the document data or it is the data itself, they’re very big on standard things you might think they would be big on: encryption, password protection, two factor authentication, all of that. But, they’ve gone a step further, and this is what sets them apart. 

When Veratad does a transaction that requires personal information and data, they’ve taken the position that they will not keep any sensitive personal  information on an individual once a transaction is complete. So, you run a transaction with them, you may be giving a social, or other data points, so sensitive personal information. But you can feel safe knowing that Veratad is not storing that information. As is recommended, they use it on a one time basis for the requested verification process. And then they only keep a footprint of each of those transactions, like a date and timestamp and a reference number or transaction ID. They are very, very focused and obsessed, if you will, with privacy, security, and quite frankly, all the things that if you were a client of Veratad, would make you very comfortable with how they manage that aspect of their  business.

Is there an ID Silver Bullet? 

Aaron couldn’t resist asking John one last question: is there a silver bullet? 

John expanded with the best possible response: “the bad guys try to stay a step ahead of course, but we take a layered approach. Just doing one thing only, if you have a very high degree of concern about your security, may not work. We recommend that in addition to taking that document, or taking a selfie, maybe you want to do the data check or look at some other data points relating to mobile, including a two-factor authentication. “

As all technology evolves, Veratad’s technology now is able to learn and detect fraud using AI. This allows them, for example, to continually improve automated ID document processes that learn things like font type and font size, holographic elements, document watermarks and authentication stamps, and much more. It also has allowed them to use TechUnited’s CEOs favorite photo, the selfie, as an increased measure for ID verification, acting as the same verified source of truth as a license or Social Security card by leveraging advanced biometrics.  To learn more about how your organization can leverage Veratad, the leader in age & identity verification solutions, you can visit 


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