A new survey of ecommerce businesses in the UK has found that 78% are concerned about selling age restricted goods or services to minors online due to the age verification methods they are using.

The age restricted products include cigarettes, alcohol, knives and fireworks.

The research, conducted by LexisNexis Risk Solutions in collaboration with research firm Census Wide and released on Thursday, surveyed 200 senior ecommerce professionals responsible for e-retail activity.

More than half (61%) of respondents said that they use self-certification (tick box/date of birth entry) to check their customers’ age online.  This figure was higher among respondents from larger ecommerce businesses (those with more than 500 employees), 79% of whom said they still use this method, which simply depends on the customer’s honesty.

Only 30% of ecommerce businesses said they used Know Your Customer (KYC) checks via specialist credit check or identity check software.

83% of ecommerce businesses said that they felt a need to conduct more comprehensive identity verification to mitigate identity fraud, a growing problem online.

Recent statistics from the not-for-profit organisation for financial crime, Cifas, found that victims of identity fraud rose by 57% in the UK last year, with 86% of the identity fraud cases committed online.

LexisNexis Risk Solutions works with industries and government to assess, predict and manage risk. Steve Arnison, Director, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said:

“Our survey has highlighted opportunities for ecommerce businesses to strengthen procedures for determining the age of their customers. Many are still using an out-dated self-certification tick box approach, which on the one hand is quick and simple, but is wide-open to misuse.

“There is a widespread misconception that integrating robust identity verification technology will complicate the checkout process and make it more time-consuming for the consumer, however this is not the case. Today’s age verification software seamlessly integrates into a retailer’s ecommerce system so that checks are automated in real-time, with no need for the customer to input extensive personal information.

“As well as adding protection for young people, improved identity verification brings businesses other benefits, not least of which is a better defence against fraud. Card-not-present fraud is a growing issue, so much so that it cost UK businesses £398.2m in 2015. With the right technology in place, online retailers will be able to gain a clearer view of who they are conducting business with, allowing them to proactively reduce the risk of identity fraud and underage sales.”