Minors are accessing age-restricted products online without any eye on them. This is a real problem that is giving rise to many other epidemic problems. Regulatory authorities are all set up to evaluate the online platforms that sell age-restricted products but lack proper checks to authenticate their consumer traffic. In brick and mortar stores, it is convenient to restrict children from buying age-restricted items. But, it is hard to be tackled online. For this, there are regulations to ensure that online platforms are taking stringent measures if they are selling age-restricted products like alcohol, medicines, drugs, e-cigarettes, vapes, games, and DVDs, etc.
Industries selling these and similar items are in dire need to comply with regulatory regimes and take in place age verification checks by adopting innovative solutions to conduct online age verification. Children get access to credit cards of their parents through which they perform online transactions. Research showed that most minors use a credit card without taking permission from their parents. Here, the loophole should be covered. Credit card verification should be done online to combat the risks of underage sales done through adult credit cards.
One way of age verification is to verify it at the time of parcel delivery. But here, the problem is that many online platforms take services from third party shipping companies. These have to complete particular orders a day and have no extra time to validate the consumer by meeting him. To eliminate this headache of verification and time-consuming task, with online age verification, it has become easier and efficient.
Methods to Conduct Age Verification
To tackle the problem of children buying restricted items, online platforms can take measures. Some of the most used, successful and innovative methods are discussed below:
- Credit Card Verification
While proceeding to the transaction, the credit card should be verified. This can be done through 2-factor authentication to make sure that the real owner is asking you to perform a transaction.
- Age Affirmation Pages
Although this method does not serve the purpose of prohibiting minors from accessing restricted products, it is used to comply with the requirements of local regulatory authorities. Still, the objective remains behind. Age affirmation pages simply have a checkbox which the user is asked to check to confirm he is above the legal age. This method can simply be duped.
- Age Verification Software
Perform online age verification by easy integration of API. Age verification systems are available which help in online verification of end-users in real-time. This can be done through biometric authentication. Face verification and fingerprint scanning are the most commonly adopted methods among biometrics. Online verification can help recognize the under-age community. For this, a user might be asked for document verification, a document that specifies the birth year and system process it accordingly.
Identification verification companies provide these services to online merchants and retailers who sell age-restricted products online without verifying the age of the customer.
What COPPA says about it?
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a law to protect the online privacy of children. Children using internet services are at some platforms asked to fill in information i.e. personal data. Websites that use to collect this information, even for age verification are supposed to take consent from their parents to provide the services. Websites cannot take information if parents refuse to provide data of their child. Also, parents are allowed to revoke the consent or delete the information at any time.
The websites which take consent should mention this in the policies on the homepage of their website. If the company changes some policies regarding data collection or management, parents should be notified and after that parents could ask websites to keep or delete the information respectively. These children’s privacy concerns should be taken seriously just like the need for an age verification system. Any discrepancy in keeping a child’s information secure can be harmful to both the identity of children and the online business’s reputation. Businesses that fail to consider these regulations will be subjected to hefty regulatory fines and penalties. To wrap up, online age verification has become vital for online retailers selling age-restricted products online to comply with regulatory authorities.