What To Consider When Implementing Advanced Forensic Document Verification Technology

Shahid Hanif is the Chief Technology Officer and cofounder of ShuftiPro, a biometric identity verification (IDV) solution.

In an increasingly digital world, the demand for online services and products has skyrocketed, accelerating the need to implement identity verification measures. Any business dealing with financial transactions—from banks, insurers and even ride-sharing services—must follow strict requirements regarding customer verification or risk failing to meet critical Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance requirements.

It might come as a surprise that many companies are still using manual processes to verify their customers’ IDs. Not only are these methods incredibly time-consuming, but they’re also extremely error-prone, making it easier for fraudulent documents to slip through the security net.

Today, solutions that leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies can automate and streamline the ID verification (IDV) process. With new automated IDV solutions, businesses no longer need to rely on manual methods of forensic document verification (FDV) but can instead automate these processes, creating a more scalable, accurate and cost-efficient way to verify documents. Not all IDV processes are created equal but harnessing advanced FDV technology provides a path to futureproof your firm.

For companies interested in transitioning over to FDV, this article will discuss the steps to take to successfully implement this technology.

How Advanced Tech Is Improving Forensic Document Verification

Believe it or not, forensic document examinations date back to 539 AD when document forgeries consisted of changing seals and falsifying handwriting. Today, document fraud can include anything from identity theft, money laundering and terrorist financing activity. Today’s fraudsters are growing increasingly adept at falsifying documents, making it exceedingly more difficult for the human eye to detect.

FDV involves the incorporation of scientific rules in examining the authenticity of records. Experts in this field have used very specialized methods, especially in courts where no document is accepted without authentication. Prominent FDV techniques include handwriting identification, ultraviolet light sources, microscopes, photography and infrared imaging.

Today, emerging technologies, such as AI, ML and optical character recognition (OCR), are playing a key role in detecting the most cleverly designed forgeries. With the help of AI algorithms, OCR can detect document types much more efficiently and accurately than manual techniques. It allows financial institutions to verify ID documents from several foreign countries, extracting customer information and verifying it with built-in template matching techniques.

Checking against its extensive databases of official document templates from thousands of international jurisdictions, OCR—combined with an AI- and ML-powered algorithm—can detect irregularities by matching a document with a database template in 20 seconds or less.

Businesses must be aware that not all OCR services are born equal and choosing the right service provider for document verification is essential. Not all companies that provide identity verification services have the technology to offer FDV.

Steps For Implementing Forensic Document Verification

FDV can play an integral role in GRC reporting and compliance, resulting in heightened efficiencies by eliminating the need for manual processes. FDV can help companies remain compliant as international regulations around IDV and data privacy continue to evolve, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Service Organization Control 2 (SOC2).

When companies decide to transition to FDV technology, they need to consider their organization’s appetite for change, existing infrastructure and required staff training.

Gathering Buy-In

Gathering buy-in from key company leaders and stakeholders is critical for a successful transition to FDV. These internal conversations can help guide best use cases and resource allocation. To get the project off the ground, it is critical to involve C-suite leaders who have the ability to develop, manage and train the required staff, such as compliance and risk officers, as well as the chief information security officer (CISO).

The goal of implementing FDV is to drive efficiency while remaining compliant but not gathering cross-organizational support can turn the process into a burden rather than a net positive. As a result, both top-down and bottom-up buy-in are necessary to support the positive culture change.

Implementing New Technology

Implementing new technology into existing frameworks and infrastructure, such as IDV, always has an inherent risk. As a result, it is necessary to allocate enough resources so teams can stay abreast of evolving identity fraud threats and keep systems up to date.

Remaining compliant relies on having an adequate number of skilled staff to implement the necessary risk mitigation tactics. Another risk for organizations to consider is the toll compliance can have on staff. Because upkeeping FDV systems can be complicated and stressful, businesses must prioritize their employees’ well-being in order to curb turnover.

Properly Training Staff

FDV rollout requires robust training, information, intelligence and supervision, similar to the implementation of any new technology. Due to the highly complicated nature of FDV technologies, a single training session isn’t going to be enough. Only through continuous training and development—whether that be workshops, seminars or toolbox sessions—will employees be able to truly understand their role in the FDV process and how best to mitigate fraud.

Implementation of this approach is not as simple as a quick switch. It requires a fundamental culture shift on an organizational level to build a sustainable and risk–adverse future.


When implemented properly, FDV can be an essential component of any organization’s KYC strategy. Identity theft and other fraudulent activity drastically impact the customer experience and raise the cost of doing business.

Reducing manual processes and making this transition can prove to be an efficient approach for companies. Ensuring buy-in from the top-down, properly implementing new technology into the existing infrastructure and understanding required staff training will be some of the most important steps during this process.

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