Address verification along with identity check is a crucial verification criterion for any service provider. There are documents which could be used to verify address like Aadhaar or Passport, but these serve a mandate.
These ID proofs could only help with a residence attached to an individual and cannot confirm if the individual resides at the address. It is where the problems start.
The address an individual provides during a background check could be an old address or a false one. This is the reason a physical verification by a field agent is the only way to verify an address accurately.
Most countries have a national address database which could be accessed for verifying anyone’s address. Having such a database in India with the multiverse of languages and culture is close to an impossibility.
There is, of course, Aadhaar which is the biggest repository of human data ever compiled in history. It includes addresses, but the addresses wouldn’t help you get to the residence, let alone confirm if the bearer lives there.
What is address verification?
Address verification refers to the verification of the address that the candidate shares with the company. In simple terms, address verification is for the authentication of a person that verifies the address they claim to live in is genuine or not.
Address verification is done for various purposes, such as employee hiring, granting scholarships to students, or onboarding customers for the bank. For example, employee address verification is a vital step at employee hiring. It is because an employee can access sensitive information about the company. Hence, an employee must be a trusted person.
Similarly, a bank needs genuine customers. It ensures this verifying address documents that include government ID proof of the person mentioning their name, address, and photograph. And these days, people prefer online address verification.
Need for address verification
Data plays a very crucial role in business initiatives and plans. A total of 97% of the company’s employees use this data for business opportunities, increasing the total revenue and serving their best to the customers. There will be fewer wasted outbound mails, reduced accurate marketing activity, and low costs with address verification.
As per a study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, there was a total of 43% of occupational frauds, of which 52% of companies performed address verification and background checks while 48% of companies did not follow the same. The companies who performed background checks found some fraud cases as well. And by taking immediate action, companies can prevent potential damage or loss.
Organizations that require address verification
Every industry requires address verification to prevent fraud. However, it is most important in the financial and e-commerce sectors because:
- Financial sector: Financial institutions require address verification for employees and customers. It is also necessary for the organization to authenticate individuals to mitigate the risk of account takeover, money laundering, and terrorist financing.
- E-commerce sector: The e-commerce sector faces enormous losses every year because of the orders returned. Address verification service adds a layer of security to reduce fraudulent activities and prevent losses to the company.
Address verification process
Employee central address validation can be done in two ways:
- Physical address verification: Physical address verification is done by a field officer, who verifies the employee details, such as their tenure of stay at the given address, respondent in address verification, and other members living with the employee. An employee can have a permanent or temporary address, of which the permanent address is considered more reliable.
- Online address verification: Online address verification is easier for both employees and employers. Here, the employee needs to upload the address verification documents online, and the verification is done digitally. The online platform verifies the existence of the location using the latitude and longitude values. Then it is followed by a physical inspection.
SpringVerify conducts hundreds of address checks daily. These checks include the remotest of places in India to confirm the permanent address of a candidate may be working in Bengaluru.
The address validation is part of the standard checks we do at SpringVerify and a process we tackle daily. We have infused the process with technology to the extent possible, yet it remains an operational nightmare. The reason for the complexity lies in the fact that there is human effort involved in confirming addresses.
A SpringVerify agent is assigned to every address verification task who will:
- Visit the address in question
- Take images of the residence with the candidate
- Upload the image through a secured app
- Finally, provide a confirmation
The challenges we overcome with technology
- Time Management: The process looks straightforward until we realize that finding a mutual time for the candidate and the agent to visit the address in itself is tough. The candidate or someone from his/her family needs to be available at the residence to verify. We use notifications and updated time slots to make sure the address check happens at the first instance.
- Safety: Making sure of the safety of both the candidate and the agent while performing the address check is crucial. The agent at no point has the actual phone number of a candidate. The calls are always routed through different call bridges for safety and anonymity. We also make sure we verify the identities of the agents before we allow a check performed by them. It is essential for the process to be successful and as error-free as possible.
- Data Security: The data collected from the residence in the form of images and confirmation notes are uploaded via an encrypted device to our databases. The information is never available with the agent to access and is written to encrypted servers to keep it from appending even by our backend teams.
SpringVerify is the modern take on the age-old problem of employee verification being costly, tedious, and out of reach of small businesses. We are trying to build a platform where the employee verification process happens seamlessly and with minimal effort required from both the company and the employee.
We believe that employee verification is a must for any business. It is a critical process in ensuring that every employee working with you is faithful and could be trusted. CareerBuilder survey shows that a company stands to lose on average $17000 on a wrong hire.
We have built the platform with blockchain and believe that it will change virtually everything it comes in contact with. Blockchain helps us in building a decentralized system which keeps all our data secure and immutable.
What is address verification API?
It is an application programming interface that verifies postal addresses automatically. They integrate with websites and databases to enhance their data.
What can be used as address verification documents?
Below is the list of valid address verification documents for an individual:
- Government-issued ID
- Social security card
- Utility bill
- Insurance card
- Property tax receipt
- Lease agreement
- Driver’s license
- Posted mail with applicant’s name
- College enrollment papers
- Voter registration card
What is the purpose of address verification?
Address verification is often a mandatory process before hiring an employee, offering a loan to someone, or other similar instances in order to:
- Avoid identity frauds.
- Ensure that the candidate is not linked to illegal communities
- To send out documents and letters physically.
- To figure if the candidate committed a criminal act during his employment with your organization.
How is address verification done in India?
The address verification in India is done with the help of a verification software and photographic evidence.
[Published September 6, 2019 Last Updated June 6, 2022]