How Remote Online Notarization Helps Prevent Fraud

We hear constantly that technology is simply a tool for fraud, but the truth of the matter is, fraudsters will try to cheat in any environment, paper or digital. It turns out that technology is one of our best tools in combating fraud.

Notarize helps make online transactions more trustworthy, safe and secure. Remote online notarization is more secure than traditional eSign or notary services. Our platform includes multi-factor ID authentication, a recording of the audio-video session, and a full audit trail for much more robust security.

Step 1: Credential Analysis

Before an online meeting with a notary starts, a signer will take a photo of the front and back of their ID using a laptop or camera phone. The credential is analyzed by automated software processes to see if the data or information is valid.

Step 2: Knowledge-Based Authentication

After the ID has been scanned, to login to a meeting, a signer must enter their name, address, date of birth and the last four digits of their United States social security number and a recent US address. This starts a process called knowledge-based authentication or “KBA.”

It’s becoming easier to steal, replicate, or duplicate government-issued IDs, but it’s hard to steal knowledge and personal experience. Knowledge-based authentication (KBA) leverages personal experience to prevent fraud. It’s also built into the Notarize product. There are two different types of KBA and Notarize uses the most secure type of KBA possible.

Most people are familiar with “static” KBA questions used when setting up online accounts. With static KBA, new users answer a series of fixed questions that pertain to their personal experiences. It’s a question like: What street did you grow up on?

The issue with static KBA is that the average person now shares lots of personal information on Facebook and Gmail. If a hacker can access some of your most basic information, they have a real chance at fooling static KBA.

But there’s a more secure form of KBA called “Dynamic KBA” and that’s what Notarize uses. Dynamic KBA typically relies on third-party databases with public information to provide multiple questions with a range of correct answers.

  • If static KBA asks about the street you grew up on, dynamic KBA might ask: “Which of these streets have you NEVER lived on?”
  • Dynamic KBA asks multiple questions with a range of possible answers - everything from all of the above to none at all.

They are questions that are very easy to answer if you are who you say you are. However, they’re really challenging to answer if you’re committing fraud.

A signer must answer five questions correctly in two minutes. If they fail, they get a second chance. If they fail again, they’re locked out for 24 hours. Each attempt includes new verification questions.

Step 3: Notary Review

After these first two steps, the signer joins an online video meeting with a notary. The notary reviews the credential analysis and the KBA results. The notary also looks to verify that the signer's face matches the photo of the ID. This is the third and final check to prevent real estate fraud.