Social media has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. The number of users has grown with geometric progression and there are no signs of it stopping any time soon. According to a Statista report in September 2021, Facebook alone experienced 2.85 billion active users in that month. This expansion has made social media a budding ground for people with nefarious aims. With a diverse user base with dynamic demographics, it becomes easier for hackers and scammers to obtain and exploit information from users.
Age verification is a great measure to ensure restriction of content and exposure for accounts of the minor. The majority of social media platforms have inadequate age restrictions in place which has led to complaints of people under appropriate age being exposed to inappropriate content and users.
Age verification checks can be an equalizer to safeguard the digital well-being of everyone. Here is a detailed view of how it can do it.
Prevention Of Identity Theft
Since there are no security checks in the virtual realm, fake identities require just as much effort to create and market as the real ones. This has made room for elaborate rackets and scamming networks to operate through these fake identities, obtain Personal Identifiable Information (PII), and exploit them for monetary gains.
Through age verification, users under the appropriate age group will not be visible to sketchy characters. Users will have to show documentary proof before adding personal information into the system. Age verification services promote more security and a conducive environment on social media, free from sketchy characters.
Influencers are a new generation of celebrities. These are account holders on social media platforms with an immense number of followers and exposure. They command authority in opinion formation and often get lucrative endorsement deals from leading brands.
This persona is often copied by scammers who manage to amass ghost followers to showcase their following. Many times, an influencer pairs up with a brand without due diligence for a handsome salary. In the end, the followers and users end up light on cash due to the scam.
Influencers had a 55.39% share in the fraud committed online in 2020.
Minors and people who do not have much exposure to technology and the internet are their primary targets. With a comprehensive age verification solution onboard, scams can be averted and perpetrators can be prevented from preying on the gullible.
Financial Fraud Prevention
There are no age limits when it comes to financial fraud. They existed even before the advent of the digital age, but social media has given a new playing field to fraudsters so they can mark and prey on their targets with impunity.
Financial fraud and scams come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, they come in the form of investment schemes and the launching of new ventures looking for seed money. The idea is to lure the user in and ask for personal financial information such as credit card numbers, PINs, etc.
College students and newly employed are sucked up in such schemes and end up becoming a victim of financial fraud. Through rigorous online age verification checks backed by documentary proof, it would be virtually impossible for fraudsters to pedal such schemes out in the open and reach out to users.
Crack Down On Bogus Advertisements & Incentives
Social media marketing is now the most advanced iteration of its predecessors. Its evolution and reliance on large chunks of data make it more effective. It does not take a regular social media user to see the proliferation of advertisements, especially from leading brands, everywhere on the platform.
The World Federation of Advertisers has projected the growth of ad fraud to reach $50 billion in 2025, becoming the biggest market for organized crime.
Through age verification online, only accounts with real authentic users will be allowed to display advertisements and conduct business with others. Age verification or KYCC (Know Your Client’s Client) practice allows transparency and streamlining of personal information in the social sphere.
Countering Fake Job Offers & Scholarships
Age verification can also act as an active cover against fake job offers and scholarships on social media. With an immense number of users, companies use these platforms as job boards to post new vacancies. The situation becomes problematic when malicious actors get in the mix of things posing as reputed companies in the virtual world.
Again, this led to personal identity theft, financial frauds, and all kinds of evils resulting in a sour experience for the user who has lost money and reputation in the process.
When there are solid checks and entry barriers in social media through document and age verification, users will be much safer from such incursions on their names and money.
The Way Forward
The virtual world is governed by the law of the jungle where anyone can ambush and steal away precious information and leave with no trace at all. Smart solutions can cover both industrial and compliance end of the age verification. Through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, social media platforms can adopt a hassle-free age verification solution to verify the age of the incoming users. This way, they can safeguard the personal information and the integrity of the users.