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Biometric Age Verification Protect Minors from Online Scams and Ensure Compliance

Biometric Age Verification: Protect Minors from Online Scams and Ensure Compliance

Author: teresa_myers | 06 Jun 2023

The Internet has become integral to people’s lives, touching every aspect of society. Among its growing user base, children have emerged as highly enthusiastic participants in the online world. With global estimates indicating that one in three internet users is under the legal age, it is evident that young minds constitute a substantial portion of the online community. 

This trend is even more pronounced in the European Union, where most children now use smartphones daily, a figure almost twice as high as it was a decade ago. Remarkably, children are starting to embrace digital devices at an increasingly tender age.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensuring a secure digital environment, especially concerning age-related content, should be a top priority.
  • Biometric technologies such as facial recognition and liveness detection play a pivotal role in verifying user identities and ensuring age accuracy.
  • Biometric age verification prevents fake identities or false ages, contributing to a safer online space.
  • Facia, a leader in biometric age verification, empowers platforms to prioritise young user safety.

Biometric age verification has emerged as an innovative solution to address this concern, providing a robust system to verify the age of users and restrict access to age-restricted content. In this blog, we explore the significance of Biometric Age Verification and its critical role in protecting minors from online scams while ensuring compliance.

From Age Gates to Biometric Age Verification

What is Age Gating?

Age gating is a digital barrier used by websites to restrict access to content or services deemed inappropriate for minors. It is commonly employed by sites that involve alcohol, tobacco, gaming, pornography, and firearms.

How Does an Age Gate Work?

Visitors encounter a page or pop-up asking them to confirm their age before accessing the content. This could be as simple as clicking a button to verify they are above a certain age or entering their date of birth.

While age gates serve as basic filters, they often fall short of truly safeguarding our younger population from potentially harmful online content. Ensuring that minors are not exposed to age-restricted material requires a more foolproof system, pushing us towards advancements like biometric age verification.

What is Age Verification in Biometrics?

Age verification in biometrics refers to a process that determines or verifies a person’s age using various biological attributes or features. Identity verification is at the core of the biometric age verification process. This eliminates the possibility of users creating fake identities or misrepresenting their age, creating a safer and more trustworthy space for all.

Why Biometric Age Verification?

Biometric age verification uses AI-driven facial recognition and ID scans. This is more reliable than age gates. It ensures that users can’t lie about their age to access restricted content.

Benefits:

  • Safety: Keeps minors away from harmful content.
  • Compliance: Helps platforms meet legal rules and standards.
  • Trust: Builds user trust by showing that the platform is secure and responsible.

Online Scams and Their Impact on Young Users 

Online scams are on the rise, and they don’t discriminate by age. Young users are particularly vulnerable, often lacking the experience to spot potential dangers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 40% of individuals aged 20 to 29 fell victim to fraud schemes in 2023. This is in stark contrast to the 18% of those aged 70 and older.

  • Young users are vulnerable; 40% of those aged 20-29 fell victim to fraud in 2023. (FTC)
  • 26% of children aged 12 or younger encounter inappropriate content. (PRC)
  • explicit content is a major reason for age verification implementation
  • Online casinos and gaming causing an increase in underage gambling incidents. (UKGC)
  • Phishing attacks increased by 33% for individuals under 18 in 2022. (AAG)
  • FTC data shows an increase in identity theft cases among young individuals
  • 36.5% of students aged 12-17 have experienced cyberbullying. (CRC)

The Dangers of Age-Restricted Content 

Age-restricted content, including explicit material, violence, and other harmful content, poses a significant risk to young users. Platforms like YouTube have strict age restrictions, but enforcing these restrictions isn’t always straightforward. 

A study by the Pew Research Center revealed that around 26% of children aged 12 or younger had experienced exposure to age-inappropriate content online.

Onlyfans Verification: Risks and Realities 

Platforms like OnlyFans have gained immense popularity but face serious challenges regarding age verification. Without stringent age verification processes, there’s a risk that underage individuals might access explicit content. This raises concerns about potential legal implications and the need for more robust verification methods.

Adult Content, No Verification: A Growing Concern 

Gaming platforms, particularly online casinos generally have age-restricted content. Without proper age verification requirements, minors can easily gain access. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) reported a significant increase in underage gambling activities, emphasising the need for stricter regulations and robust age verification processes in the online gambling industry.

Online Scams, Deceptions, and Fraudulent Activities 

The online realm is full of scams that target young users. From phishing schemes to deceptive advertising, these scams often involve the collection of personal information. According to a report, in 2022, there was a 33% increase in phishing attacks aimed at individuals under the age of 18.

Age Verification Scam

Online age verification itself isn’t immune to scams. Scammers exploit the process to collect personal data for fraudulent activities.  Users, including minors, need to recognize red flags like fake verification requests and phishing emails. Empowering them with knowledge can prevent falling victim to these scams. There are some basic cybersecurity tips that they can follow to stay safe 

Identity Theft in Online Gambling

identity theft is a growing concern, particularly in online gambling platforms. When minors engage in online gambling activities without proper age verification, they risk falling victim to identity theft. 

Data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows a concerning increase in cases involving identity theft of young individuals.

Cyberbullying and Its Ramifications on Minors 

Cyberbullying, a harmful form of online harassment, significantly impacts the mental and emotional well-being of young users. Cyberbullying can lead to feelings of fear, anxiety, and depression among young victims.

According to a study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 36.5% of students aged 12-17 have experienced cyberbullying. This calls for more proactive measures from social media companies to protect young users and the importance of age verification for user accounts.

Discord Age Verification

Discord, a popular chat platform, has its own set of age verification challenges. However, they’ve implemented solutions to protect minors from age-inappropriate content. These measures are aligned with state laws and emphasise the role of technology and age verification processes in maintaining online safety for young users.

Why Social Media Platforms Needs Biometric Age Verification

Why Social Media Platforms Need to Implement Biometric Age Verification

Social media sites are everywhere, connecting people from all walks of life and facilitating communication, networking, and entertainment. However, with the rise of online platforms comes the need to ensure a safe and secure environment for users, especially when it comes to age-related content and interactions.

  • Protecting Minors: Ensure a safer online space for children.
  • Age-Appropriate Content: Restrict access to age-restricted content.
  • Confirm user identities accurately.
    Prevent Misrepresentation: Eliminate fake profiles and age fraud.
  • Compliance Assurance: Abide by age-related content regulations.
  • Enhance Trust: Foster user trust and safety.

Biometric age verification has emerged as an innovative solution to address this concern, providing a robust system to verify the age of users and restrict access to age-restricted content.

Social media platforms require age verification for several important reasons, primarily focused on user safety, data protection, and compliance with legal regulations. Here’s a breakdown of why age verification is essential:

Legal Compliance

  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): In some countries, like the United States, laws such as COPPA require platforms to obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): In Europe, the GDPR restricts the processing of a child’s data without parental consent. The age limit is 16, but member states can lower this to 13.

User Safety

  • Protection from Harmful Content: Age verification helps protect minors from exposure to inappropriate or harmful content.
  • Reducing Online Predatory Risks: By limiting the age, social media platforms aim to protect minors from potential online predators and the dangers of paedophilia. 

Age-Appropriate Experience

  • Customising User Experience: Platforms can tailor content and features to be age-appropriate based on the age information provided. There could be a safe space for underage social media users.
  • Consent and Capability: Older users are considered more capable of giving informed consent to data processing and understanding the implications of sharing personal information. If certain social media platforms cannot allow underage users at any cost, then they need to have a more robust system.

Advertising

  • Targeting and Relevance: Age information allows advertisers to target their ads more effectively, ensuring users see more relevant content.
  • Restricting Certain Ads: Age verification ensures that certain types of ads, like those for alcohol or gambling, are not displayed to underage users.

Community Standards and Guidelines

  • Ensuring Appropriate Interaction: Age verification helps in maintaining a level of maturity and appropriateness in user interactions and shared content.
  • Promoting Responsible Behavior: Age limits can encourage more responsible and respectful behaviour among users.

Parental Control and Oversight

  • Providing Control to Parents: Age verification allows platforms to offer features that enable parents to monitor and control their child’s online activity.
  • Enhancing Communication: It encourages open communication between parents and children regarding online safety and responsible usage.

Top 5 Methods Employed By Minors  to Bypass Age Verification Checks

Using Fabricated Information

Minors frequently evade online age verifications by falsifying their birth dates during registration. They provide incorrect details while creating accounts, concocting birth dates that suggest they are older, thus gaining access to websites intended for more mature audiences.

Utilising Parents’ Identification Documents

Minors often attempt to access adult-only online platforms using their parents’ IDs or credit cards. Our age verification solution effectively counters such efforts. It verifies the user’s identity by comparing their selfie with the photo on the ID and incorporates advanced techniques like liveness detection to confirm authenticity. This robust method efficiently thwarts minors from circumventing age checks and accessing unsuitable content.

Employing VPNs

VPNs, now readily accessible, are used by minors to conceal their location and IP address, misleading websites into believing they are adults.

External Assistance

Minors sometimes resort to companies specialising in age verification to gain access to restricted sites. However, they often deceive these services by submitting fake IDs or inaccurate information, thus manipulating the system to appear older and gain unauthorised access to age-restricted content or services.

Using Credit Cards

Minors bypass age restrictions on websites by utilising credit cards belonging to adults, such as their parents, or by acquiring prepaid cards. This approach enables them to present themselves as adults to the website’s verification system, thereby gaining access to content or services designated for older users.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with age verification laws carries serious consequences for online platforms and social media companies:

Financial Penalties: Violating age verification laws can lead to substantial financial penalties. These penalties can significantly impact a business’s operations and financial health.

Erosion of Trust: Failing to protect minors from inappropriate content can erode trust among users and parents. This decreasing trust may result in a decline in user numbers and revenues.

Legal Action: Non-compliance can lead to legal action, investigations, and, in extreme cases, the shutdown of online platforms that do not adhere to age verification regulations.

Reputation Damage: Public perception is a critical factor in the success of online platforms. Non-compliance can tarnish a company’s reputation, leading to long-term damage and a loss of user trust.

Compliance with age verification laws is a legal and ethical obligation for online platforms and social media companies. These laws are in place to create a safer digital environment for minors and to ensure they are protected from harmful or age-inappropriate content. 

Potential Limitations of Age Verification Systems

Age verification systems play a vital role in protecting young users from accessing age-restricted content. However, it’s important to recognize that these systems, while effective in many ways, also come with certain limitations and challenges that need to be addressed.

Effectiveness Concerns: Can Minors Bypass the Checks?

One of the primary concerns with age verification systems is their effectiveness in preventing minors from bypassing the checks. It’s a critical question to ask – can tech-savvy young users find ways to get around these age verification processes? This section explores this concern in detail, examining the potential vulnerabilities in age verification systems and their susceptibility to exploitation.

Top Methods Minors Used to Bypass Age Checks

  • Fake IDs: Some tech-savvy minors may attempt to create fake identification documents, which can be used to pass identity verification checks.
  • Parental Consent: In cases where parental consent is required, some minors may falsely claim consent, potentially using the information of unaware parents.
  • Proxy Servers and VPNs: Minors can employ proxy servers or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to mask their true location and bypass regional age restrictions.
  • Identity Theft: In extreme cases, minors might resort to identity theft, using someone else’s information to verify their age.

Addressing Challenges Faced by Marginalized Groups

Age verification systems should be inclusive and consider the challenges faced by marginalized groups. This section discusses the specific difficulties these groups might encounter when using age verification services. It emphasises the importance of addressing these challenges to ensure equal access and protection for all users, regardless of their background.

Age Verification and Data Privacy

Balancing age verification and data privacy is a delicate and critical aspect of implementing these systems. This section explores the fine line between the effective use of age verification methods without compromising their privacy. It emphasizes the need for strict data protection measures to guarantee that user information is handled with care and responsibility.

Fake ID Scams: What to Be Aware of

As part of the age verification process, users might come across scams related to Fake ID, a popular verification service. This section educates users on what to watch out for and how to recognize potential scams. It’s crucial to keep users informed and aware of potential risks they might encounter during the age verification process.

Why Choose Facia for Biometric Age Verification?

Selecting the right age verification provider is crucial to ensure the safety and integrity of online spaces, particularly when it comes to protecting young users. Facia stands out as a premier choice for several reasons:

  • Facia uses state-of-the-art biometric technologies like facial recognition and liveness detection to ensure precision and user-friendliness.
  • Our age verification algorithms are rigorously tested and consistently updated for industry-grade age verification.
  • Our solutions are easily integrated into existing systems, minimizing disruptions and hassles.
  • Facia offers a powerful Age Verification API for swift and reliable age verification processes.
  • With our API, you can expect lightning-fast responses, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Conclusion: Empower a Safer Digital Future with FACIA

In a digital landscape, ensuring the security of young users is more crucial than ever. Biometric Age Verification stands as a beacon of protection, offering precise identity verification through advanced technologies like facial recognition and liveness detection. It’s the key to preventing fake identities and age misrepresentation, creating a secure and trusted online space for all.

Facia, a pioneer in biometric age verification, leads the charge in making the internet safer for minors. Our commitment to expertise, authority, and trustworthiness ensures a safer digital environment where children can explore without compromising their safety. Join us on this journey and take the first step toward a safer digital future.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a biometric identity check?

A biometric identity check is a method for uniquely identifying an individual by examining one or more distinctive biological characteristics. It often employs face recognition technology, which scans a user's facial features and compares them to the picture on their ID card or passport for verification.

What is child verification?

Child verification is a process used to confirm that an individual is not a minor. It is typically employed for age-restricted activities or access to content and involves assessing an individual's age to ensure they meet the required criteria.

How do I prove my age verification?

Proving age verification usually requires submitting official documents, such as a driver's license, passport, or national ID card. Alternatively, some systems may utilize online verification tools to confirm your age digitally.

Who needs age verification requirements?

Age verification laws often target two categories of businesses: those providing material intended for or likely to be accessed by individuals under the age of 18, or even younger cohorts under the age of 16, and those supplying "harmful" content. These laws vary by jurisdiction and aim to prevent minors from accessing age-inappropriate material.

What is the age verification procedure?

Age verification procedures may involve checking various types of documentation, including passports, national ID cards, registration cards, birth certificates, and other certificates. The specific documents required can vary depending on the context and regulatory requirements.