What Is Selfie ID Verification?

Selfie ID verification technology maps an individual's facial features, thus matching facial features to stored facial biometric data, authenticating the individual. Each face has thousands of unique points, which is why identity verification leveraging selfie photos is an increasingly popular authentication method. 

An example of Selfie ID verification is Apple's Face ID technology, which can scan and verify iPhone users. First, the technology projects and analyzes over 30,000 invisible dots, creating a depth map and infrared image of each face. Next, it uses specialized hardware to transform the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation of facial characteristics, easy to store and process. 

In this article:

The Need for Face Verification

Face verification is a commonly used security method applied to various scenarios. Banks and government agencies, for example, use facial recognition to let authorized personnel access a physical facility. However, traditional facial recognition security requires individuals to approach a physical location. 

Selfie ID verification is the online version of face recognition security. It is considered a highly secure ID verification method used by government agencies and organizations to protect digital assets and environments. 

Here is a quick overview of several types of online verification methods and how each compares to selfie ID verification:

  • Knowledge-based security—For example, Passwords. This type of security relies on information that can be shared or stolen. When using solid passwords, the data is hard to remember.
  • Device-based security—i.e., mobile phones. This type of verification relies on devices that are physically carried around and can be stolen or lost.
  • Biometric identifiers—i.e., fingerprints and irises. These are not in IDs like driver's licenses and passports, making them less useful than photographs.
  • Face verification—i.e., ID verification. One can safely use this method to validate IDs online. It also enables individuals to assert that they are genuinely present during the facial scan and that the image is legitimate. 
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As cybercrime grows and spreads, both in the number of attacks and in the sophistication of the techniques used by threat actors, verification becomes increasingly essential. In addition, organizations and individuals need to protect against identity and financial theft. Selfie ID verification can help achieve this goal.

Related content: Read our guide to identity verification services 

Combating Biometric Fraud Through AI

Here are some common ways artificial intelligence (AI) can prevent identity fraud and biometric manipulation.

Liveness Detection

This type of detection technology enables biometric systems to determine whether the provided image of a face is authentic or not. In addition, face verification solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can leverage liveness detection to verify an online user's facial movements and physical presence. As a result, this technology can significantly reduce the likelihood of a successful facial spoof attack and false acceptance rate.

Micro-Expressions Analysis

Face verification solutions use AI algorithms to detect subtle micro-expressions in the faces of end-users. This technology enables companies to detect replay video attacks, deep fakes, and other spoof attempts.  

3-D Depth Perception

This type of analysis enables face verification tools to effortlessly detect spoof attacks like fraudulent or photoshopped images and silicone face masks. The technology uses a detailed analysis of the 3-D geometry of a user's face to accomplish this.   

Human Face Attributes Analysis

Face verification solutions can analyze each individual's facial characteristics and then filter impostors accordingly. For example, they verify the shape of the person's lips, the distance between the eyes, and the width or length of the forehead.  

AI Mapping Techniques

These techniques can detect 3-D masks, eye-cut photo attacks, and other types of facial spoofs. AI mapping techniques accomplish this by using machine learning (ML) and AI models that map the faces of end-users and faces displayed on ID document photos and then provide highly accurate verification. 

Related content: Read our guide to photo ID verification

Selfie ID Verification Pros and Cons

There are advantages and drawbacks to selfie ID verification, as with any technology.

Pros

Some notable advantages include:

  • Widespread use of smartphones—consumers increasingly use mobile devices to create accounts online and access existing reports and services. Face-based biometrics technology increasingly replaces other verification methods, like fingerprints, PINs, and passwords. Over 1 billion smartphones will have some form of face unlock technology in 2022.
  • Convenience—as more users unlock iPhones using Apple's Face ID, the technology paves the way for other face-based biometrics, as the growing confidence and familiarity users are experiencing first-hand. A clear majority of global consumers have more confidence in the protection provided by physical biometrics and have less trust in passwords.
  • Speed—selfie-based authentication can help digitally verify user identity in a matter of seconds. The technology can leverage biometric-based 3D face maps to deliver a more reliable authentication experience than other methods like passwords, traditional knowledge-based authentication, and SMS-based two-factor authentication.

Cons

Here are three key aspects to consider when implementing verification by selfie:

  • Selfies for 'single frame liveness' are not secure—a verification solution should not rely on a single image to securely authenticate users online. Furthermore, even selfies can be edited, stolen, or fabricated.
  • Selfie anxiety can harm completion rates—consumers prefer the speed and convenience of face authentication when accessing services on mobile devices or computers. However, they might experience difficulties seeing an image of themselves during an authentication or onboarding process. This kind of jarring experience can harm completion rates.
  • Selfie perfectionism can lower completion rates—some people like seeing themselves but may suffer from perfectionism. Many consumers retake selfies several times before they are happy with the result. Selfie perfectionism can significantly slow down a face authentication process and prevent users from completing it entirely.

Selfie ID Verification with BlueCheck

BlueCheck's industry-leading identity verification infrastructure, supporting selfie ID verification, enables merchants to grow their business faster. As we serve a wide variety of industries, our solutions are custom-tailored to the unique needs of our customers, including PACT Act and eCommerce compliant offerings. 

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Schedule a call today with a BlueCheck specialist to learn more about our Age & ID Verification solutions. 

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