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FATF backs call for businesses to employ digital onboarding processes to avoid scams

Jessica Bird

April 21, 2020

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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has backed a call by anti-money laundering (AML) business SmartSearch for businesses to employ digital customer onboarding processes.

When the COVID-19 lockdown first started, SmartSearch warned that it was no longer safe to rely on physical documents for onboarding customers, and recommended that UK businesses make the switch to digital know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering processes.

The FATF has now backed this warning that criminals are likely to take advantage of the crisis, and that vigilance against fraud and money laundering is more important than ever.

The FATF has explicitly encouraged the responsible use of digital customer onboarding, and has asked that government promote this approach.

John Dobson, chief executive of SmartSearch, said: “The FATF’s guidance is as clear as day.

“Criminals are looking for every opportunity to get round AML defences, and the best – indeed the only – way to stop them is to use digital onboarding and KYC processes.

“Electronic verification allows firms to continue ‘business as usual’, with all necessary checks carried out remotely, and no physical documentation required.

“Firms can be up and running with our system in less than 48 hours, and a full individual AML check – including global Sanctions and PEP screening – takes just a few seconds.

“The coronavirus poses a serious threat to people’s health but it should not be an excuse to water down defences against financial crime.”


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