What Happens If You Have No Photo ID For Solicitor Checks?



You would have had to prove your identity if you had previously used the services of a regulated business, such as a solicitor, real estate agent or any legal service or practice. This would have been done in the form of you supplying a photo ID like a passport or a driving licence.  But what happens if you have no photo ID for solicitor checks? We review all things client onboarding here.

This is done as part of the Know Your Client (KYC) and the Anti Money-Laundering (AML) process to identify and prevent financial crime. Solicitors have a legal obligation to conduct these checks as they could unintentionally aid in financial crime, which could be the funding of terrorism in some cases. If a collector or a regulated business fails to follow this practice, they are in serious breach of professional conduct outlined by the Solicitors Regulation Authority

Financial Crime

Financial crime is a category given an extensive range of criminal activity ranging from theft to fraud on any scale, from individuals acting alone to large organisations. Financial crime covers the following:

  •          Money Laundering
  •          Fraud / Identity Theft
  •          Terrorist Financing
  •          Inside Trading
  •          Bribery and Corruption
  •          Cybercrime

Financial crime is a significant concern to governments and other institutes globally. In the effort to protect the integrity of the international monetary system, stopping the flow of money available makes it more difficult and, in some instances, impossible to benefit from criminal activity, money laundering and terrorist activity. 

For these reasons, solicitors and regulated businesses must verify the identities of the clients they work with as part of the fight against financial crime. This gives governments, companies and institutes the means to react and prevent criminals from money laundering and profiting from criminal activity.

What documents would a solicitor ask you to provide?

In all cases, a solicitor would need to verify your identity and address, commonly through you providing documents showing evidence that you are whom you say you are and your home address. Usually, this is a driver's licence, a passport, a bank statement no older than three months, or a council letter.

Some solicitors will use legal tech and online services to help collect and verify the documents you provide. You can read more about how someone's identity is verified here.

 We at Validient offer these services to solicitors and regulated businesses, offering an easy-to-use and compliant service that collects your documents, confirms your identity and notifies your solicitors, reducing the time this process takes manually from days to hours, all while offering excellent user experience for clients.

You can read more about how to verify the legitimacy of a photo ID here. We also cater to those clients who don't have photographic IDs and are still seeking legal advice. 

Liveness Detection

As an added level of security and certainty, individuals are often asked to perform liveness checks in addition to Identity documents. Liveness Detection is the process of using technology to detect and verify an image of a biometric sample, in this instance, a person's face.

Then using liveness detection algorithms, artificial intelligence and the same technology as face recognition that analyse what has been collected, it can determine if the image is a genuine person or a real person. 

This image can then be compared to an image supplied from a driving licence or passport and determine if there is a match. Liveness Detection can be used not only for authentication but also to prove identity. 

What happens if you have no photo ID for solicitor checks?

There are instances where a client's identity will need to be verified when they don't have a driver's licence or passport. Although ascertaining a client's identity is a little more challenging, it can still be done with a valid and official birth certificate and a national insurance number. As there is no photographic way to identify a client, additional checks might be needed. Checks like proof of income or funds can be carried out as part of the Anti Money-Laundering (AML) checks, adding a layer of due diligence.

Validient offers a service where we can confidently verify the identity of individuals, domestic and commercial, using not only photographic Identification but also other means such as a birth certificate and also liveness checks. Automating the process is not only safer and more accurate but also saves time and reduces the cost of doing it manually.

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