government, identity verification, checking id

Know Your Citizen – Identity Verification in Governments 

We might be familiar with KYC (Know Your Customer), especially in the financial sector where they verify the identities of their customers and assess their risk profile. In the realm of identity verification in government, KYC takes on a new meaning as Know Your Citizen.  

Whether you issue ID documents or are engaged in processing information about residents: identifying your citizens is essential for a wide range of government services. You need to be certain that citizens really are who they claim to be. Your residents, on the other hand, trust you with their personal data and demand respect for their privacy.  

This blog explains how to determine citizen’s identities and what to do when doubting someone’s identity. A checklist is available to download below.

5 Questions to Help Determine Someone’s Identity 

1. Does the person have an ID?  

Ask the citizen to present the ID document. Accept the ones applicable/valid to your country. There are different varieties of ID documents.  

  • Passport 
  • National identity card  
  • Driver’s license 
  • Residence permit  
2. Is the ID false or forged? 

Check the biographical data page if it has characteristics of a forged document:

  • There is a foil with another data information being placed over the holder page 
  • The photo has been changed 
  • The data has been adjusted  
  • The holder page has been completely replaced 

Check the remaining pages for completeness, visa (stickers), entry and exit stamps or missing pages 

  • The same ideas above apply to this point 
3. Is it a real ID? 

When manually checking an ID document, inspect the security features using the ‘look, feel, tilt’ principle. Tools such as UV light or Doculus Lumus can help. These are some elements that you can check:  

  • Observe the UV response of the security paper 
  • Check the offset background printing 
  • Check for security features 
  • View the watermark (in the passport) 

Additionally, consult through trusted reference databases such as DocumentChecker. It allows you to cross-check the document’s data position, security features, and MRZ (Machine Readable Zone). To learn more about manual checking and the different databases available, read here. 

It is also an option to check the ID document automatically.  For example, with Keesing AuthentiScan for a seamless and accurate check- in seconds. AuthentiScan has a built-in biometric technology which is Face Recognition and is able to check if the person is in Politically Exposed Person (PEP) and Sanctions Lists. 

4. Does the ID document and person belong together?  

Although a document is valid, it still can be bought, stolen, lost, or borrowed. It is important to check whether the document holder is the legitimate owner of the document. 

  • Look closely at the person. Compare the person with the photo on the document 
  • Look at the photo on the document and chip and compare it to the person in front of you. 
  • Check if the information on the document regarding nationality, height, age, and gender matches the person.  
5. What do you do when you doubt someone’s identity? 
  • Check document databases like The Keesing DocumentChecker. It contains the world’s most comprehensive and accurate reference information for ID documents and banknotes. DocumentChecker is supported by the Keesing Expert Helpdesk, staffed by a team of certified professionals who are highly qualified and experienced in recognizing forged documents and verifying documents. The Keesing Helpdesk will determine if a document is false or genuine within 15 minutes (during working hours).  

Are you in doubt? 

  • Consult a colleague or a supervisor. Together, examine the document thoroughly. Do not do this in the person’s presence.  
  • Ask questions if you notice any discrepancy (such as name and address). Also, avoid standard questions.  

Are you still in doubt? 

Contact your local authority if there are still any doubts or suspicions during the identity verification process. 

Since 1911, Keesing has been working with government authorities in fighting fraud. Read the use cases here. With ISO 27001 certification and compliance with GDPR, privacy protection is at the core of our solutions.  

Experience a seamless and dependable solution for ID verification that empowers government agencies to protect citizens. Contact us here and we will be in touch with you.