identification vs authentication

Identification, Verification, Authentication: What’s the Difference?

There are many elements involved in fraud prevention and cybersecurity, but there are ultimately three main steps to both processes: identification, verification, and authentication.

Whether you’re looking to prevent fraud online or in-person, these three steps will always be a necessary part of your fraud detection efforts. You may have already heard of identification, verification, and authentication in relation to cybersecurity or fraud, but do you know what the differences are between the three terms? Do you know the solutions you can use in your home or business to prevent fraud or increase security?

At, we have efficient solutions to make each process easier. But first, what exactly are identification, verification, and authentication – and what makes them unique?

Overview: Identification, Verification, Authentication

While the terms identification, verification, and authentication are often used interchangeably by people not familiar with the processes, they are all actually quite different.

Different companies that sell solutions for these security measures may view each step differently, and they may even apply their own definitions for each one. When looking to purchase solutions for identification, verification, and authentication, it helps to check with the company’s definition of each solution before ordering. Each step is important for cybersecurity and fraud prevention and you may require different levels of verification and authentication depending on your company’s needs. It’s important that you research each provider’s solutions and order the correct solution to service your security needs.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), breaches of a victim’s personal information and identity fraud were on the rise in 2019. More specifically, some of the most common fraud complaints the FTC reported in 2019 dealt with identity theft and imposter scams.

With technology constantly evolving and an increased threat of cyber crimes and fraud, it can be a challenge to prevent criminals from using other individual’s sensitive information when making purchases and applying for credit cards or bank accounts. That’s why processes for identification, verification, and authentication are constantly evolving as cybercriminals get more advanced. Below is a breakdown of each principle with insight into solutions that can address each step of preventing fraud and increasing cybersecurity.


Identification is the ability to identify a person. For our purposes, usually a user of a system or an application that is running in the system. This step asks one main question: who are you?

A person’s identification could be compromised if someone claims to be them by using a document that shows their picture and personal information. Online, this process requires a criminal to enter the victim’s basic identification information, such as a phone number, email address, address, credit card number, billing address for purchases, or even a social security number.

identification vs authentication

Criminals are able to impersonate individuals by obtaining a victim’s driver’s license, passport, student ID, library card, or another form of identification. This information has also become increasingly easier for fraudsters to get a hold of online through phishing scams or even by purchasing sensitive information on the dark web.

If you are operating a business that does not require you to exchange sensitive information with your customers or if you do not exchange money, you may use the simple process of identification (i.e. checking and verifying IDs). However, because identity fraud is becoming increasingly common in the U.S. and around the world, it’s best not to rely solely on identification alone.


Verification is the one-time process of establishing the validity of the identity. This step asks the question: are you who you say you are?

The verification process begins with identification documents. These documents may include government-issued identification cards, such as driver’s licenses or passports. These documents are then verified by either a human or with technology.

While humans can do this, there is always a risk of human error. Beyond the fact that human verification checks can be far less reliable than checks with software solutions, human checks also take longer. Businesses that only use human checks are putting themselves at a greater risk of crime and fraud against their establishment.

Our Verification Solutions

Our verification software at offers different levels of validation. You may simply ensure a document isn’t expired, or you can run identification documents through checks against DMV and USPS records. Our verification solutions even allow you to run a full criminal background check. With’s third party checks solutions, you can run verification checks all by simply scanning an ID.

authentication vs verification

Third-party checks are a vital stage in the verification process that can allow you to verify an individual’s identification and to gain information about the individual.’s third party checks involve two main processes: identity verification checks and security validation checks. Identity verification checks allow you to verify that the data on the ID matches an actual ID issued by that state from records within the DMV office. Security validation checks may involve:

  • Criminal Background
  • Watchlist
  • Sex Offender Check
  • MK List
  • OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) Consolidated Lists
  • Driver’s Licenses Status Check


Authentication is the most involved of the three processes- proving the user is genuinely who they claim to be.

While verification happens at one time when the subject’s ID is scanned or run against a database, authentication happens each time they attempt to access a system or resource for fraud prevention and cybersecurity. For instance, your business’ authentication process may deal with a subject being required to enter their username or password. Additionally, they may also have to answer security questions online or use an ID badge in-person.
However, these solutions may be vulnerable, especially for an experienced cyber-criminal. For instance, there are many people on social media that have entered their own personal information onto their pages that may contain answers to security questions, and ID badges can be misplaced or stolen.

Our Authentication Solutions

One of the most advanced solutions for authentication currently available is using biometric data and facial recognition.

Our Authentication solutions can do just that and more.’s authentication solution puts any form of identification through multiple layers of checks to confidently determine authenticity. Whether you’re looking to spot fake IDs or are trying to prevent identity theft, our authentication solutions can cover it.

We offer a front-back match solution in our authentication solutions that first scans the 2D barcode on the back of an ID and then confirms that the information matches the front. Our authentication also checks the document under infrared, UV, and white light to determine authenticity. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Identification, Verification and Authentication

Are identification, verification, and authentication interchangeable?

No, although sometimes used interchangeably, the three terms refer to three separate processes. However, the definitions may vary between companies so it is important to ensure you know a particular companies definition before making purchasing decisions.

Why are identification, verification, and authentication important?

According to the FTC, identity theft and imposter scams were among the most common fraud complaints in 2019- these processes can help your company to combat these issues.

Where can I find solutions for identification, verification, and authentication for my company?

Check out our website or reach out to for information about which solutions can best fit the needs of your business.