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Fund the First combats crowdfunding fraud with ID.me identity verification

By September 15, 2021December 2nd, 2021Case Study

CASE STUDY: FUND THE FIRST

Fund the First combats crowdfunding fraud with ID.me identity verification

Fund the First is the first verified crowdfunding platform that helps those who serve raise money during times of need. Built-in verification steps ensure online funding campaigns are legitimate and donors’ money goes to the intended recipient.

Challenge

First responders, nurses, military, medical providers and teachers experience illnesses, surgeries, and other catastrophic losses more often than other occupations. Online crowdfunding campaigns provide a way for people to help cover their expenses.

Unfortunately, millions of campaigns on large crowdfunding sites are fraudulent and/or duplicates. After a campaign launches, scammers create copies and divert donors. There’s no way to confirm campaigns are legitimate or that money is going to the right person.

New York City Detective Robert Garland was frustrated by the excessive fraud he witnessed when a colleague wanted to launch a crowdfunding campaign to support a child with a medical condition. He wanted to build a trusted service to make sure donations were received by the right people.

Solution

Robert began building Fund the First in 2019 and sought a verification solution. He spoke with developers about building the technology and quickly realized it would be more efficient and cost-effective to work with an established provider.

As a detective, he was familiar with several identity processors and evaluated his options. According to Robert, “LexisNexis was too difficult to integrate the code, and GovX isn’t a real processor, they just scan your ID.” He also wanted a partner that not only had seamless technology but also understood his mission. “Not one of their executive team had lived what we go through. It’s easier to relate to people who have the same personal story.”

Robert turned to ID.me. “As first responders, the guys on my team had used ID.me for discounts and other benefits. So I understood how the identity verification capabilities worked,” he explains. “ID.me is super transparent and the team is also incredible.” By embedding ID.me into the crowdsourcing platform, “verification is a quick and easy process for our users.”

Users know ID.me and that was a big benefit for us,” Robert explains. “When we say we partnered with ID.me, they understand the level of trust right away.

Fund the First relies on ID.me for two types of verification:

At the point of launching a campaign, users are prompted to verify their group as part of the first responder, military, nurse, medical provider or teacher communities.

When a campaign is complete and a recipient requests the funds, they must verify their identity as the beneficiary of the campaign.

Results

Fund the First launched in July 2020 as the first verified crowdfunded platform, specifically for those who serve, their families, friends, non-profits and businesses alike.

“Our initial goal was to become a household name and reach $1 million in two years,” says Robert. “We’ve done that in Year One.”

In the first year, Fund the First launched 220 campaigns with over 5,000 users, 14,500 unique donors, and helped raise over $1.5 million for people in need.

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