Chennai: Technological advances have made our lives more comfortable, but they have also made it easier for people to commit fraud. The massive amount of information on Internet users floating around the Web has increased the incidents of fraud and compounded the problems for law enforcement agencies, embassies, companies and banks.

Avira Tharakan, a chartered accountant and a former regional manager at ICICI Bank Ltd, came across many fake documents when he was working at the credit card division of the bank in 2004.

“We used to get 5,000 to 6,000 documents a day and about 10% of them were fake," he said. Though banks have a department to assess the risk involved in giving loans, it was almost impossible to ascertain if a document given by a customer was fake or not, he said.

To address this problem, Tharakan founded Myeasydocs in 2010, quitting his job at the bank.

The company now connects all the parties involved in the verification process, including an individual who possesses a document, the agency that issues the document and the organization that wants the documents verified.

For instance, if a student wants to go abroad for higher education, he would earlier have had to visit his university or courier his transcripts to the university asking them to verify it. This was a time-consuming process that would take as long as a few months.

The whole process would take at least two months and sometimes the documents could go unverified as records in universities are not digitized, said the 34-year-old Tharakan.

For banks, verification of documents is critical.

As many as 1,900 banks have been blacklisted by the British government. The British government has said that it will accept bank statements from only 85 banks for student visa purposes.

Usually, agents in collusion with bank officials manage to show the required minimum amount in a bank account, and once the visa is granted, the amount is quickly withdrawn from the applicant’s account.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has estimated that it loses 5,000 crore every year because of frauds.

With Myeasydocs, a student or a user can upload his documents on the agency’s site (a university or a bank) and after an online payment, a unique ID is passed on to the user, and at the same time, an alert is sent to the agency to verify the documents. After the online verification, the documents can be sent to whoever needs the verified document.

The unique ID generated ensures that the verified documents can’t be used for any other purpose by the user.

“It is a win-win situation for all," says Tharakan.

The user not only spends less, as the whole process costs between 800 to 1,500 to upload documents on Myeasydocs, turnaround time is reduced to just 24 hours from the earlier 60 days and the organization that needs the verified document can finally be assured of the document’s genuineness.

Myeasydocs earns an average profit of 300 fee on every transaction.

In the past one year since the company has started operations, it has seen 2,500 transactions of which 12% of the users were students.

The company has so far tied up with three state universities, 50 colleges, 40 autonomous college, eight deemed universities, in addition to about 50 plus background verification agencies such as First Advantage, CRP Technologies, Global Screening Services.

Myeasydocs has also signed up with the municipal corporation of Kochi to verify birth, death and marriage certificates.

The company has also signed up with some lenders including Federal Bank Ltd, which allows customers to use the service to upload bank statements, which could then be verified by the bank.

Myeasydocs has reached out to universities in Tamil Nadu and Kerala for now.

The company plans to make its services available for universities, banks and companies across India by 2016.

Students are likely to be the biggest users of the company’s services as there are about 8,000 colleges and 600 universities in India. “We hope to tap 20% of them by 2016 end," Tharakan said.

While the company is currently adding five-eight universities a month, it is looking at 50 sign ups a month from January.

The first year was anything but easy. “It took us a year to convince the universities to employ Myeasydocs," said Tharakan.

He adds that most of the universities in India have been slow adopters and showed a lot of reluctance to use Myeasydocs. “We were able to get them on board as it did not require any additional investment for them," said Tharakan. And moreover, colleges have seen the number of transactions go up by almost 200%, bringing more revenue for them.

The company has so far received 1.5 crore of funding. While the company has generated a revenue of 25 lakh in FY13, they expect to clock 14 crore next year.

Tharakan is also looking to expand abroad. “With increase in immigration from emerging countries, the need for verified documents is rising," he said.

The company has already tied up with a university in Israel, and is looking for more such tie-ups in Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Dubai.

The company also plans to increase the number of employees to 50 by the end of next year to support the expansion from the current 10.

Mint is a strategic partner of Digital Empowerment Foundation, which hosts the Manthan Awards.

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