Research highlights need for online retailers to tighten age verification checks

Online research commissioned by Callcredit Information Group has highlighted the need for online retailers to use more robust verification tools, as 43% of 18-24 year olds admit that they have lied about their age in the past to purchase age restricted products online.

In this age group, 22% had lied about their age to purchase alcohol related products online when under age, 22% had lied to purchase an age restricted CD/ DVD/ computer game and 11% lied about their age to purchase tobacco online when they were below the legal age.

Age verification is clearly an even greater issue for online retailers than offline, as 53% of respondents said they felt it was easier to use incorrect details to buy products or services online versus only 4% believing it was easier face-to-face.

These results are worrying for online retailers, many of whom have policies in place to prevent age-restricted products being sold to minors as part of the responsible business policies, and could face legal implications if the measures in place are not suitably robust.
The lack of adequate age verification checks may signal an even greater problem for online retailers, as fraudsters could well get a foot in the door if identity and payment checks have the same weaknesses.

It is therefore essential that online retailers take advantage of robust identity verification tools that, not only verify identity for fraud purposes, but also verify age to adhere to legislation and protect minors. Some verification solutions can verify all of these details in one, almost instant, check offering reassurance and protection to online retailers.

James Blake, Head of Retail Fraud at Callcredit said: "Age verification is a very important issue for all retailers who sell age restricted products, from a legal and corporate responsibility point of view. These results are worrying for online retailers and, even more alarmingly, could highlight a wider problem with verifying details. The tools are available to put robust payment and identity measures in place and retailers must ensure that they are using them to protect both themselves and customers."