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How Two Perth-Based 22-year-old’s Are Helping Combat Online Fraud

Gera Kazakov
Gera Kazakov
// As AI-driven fraud becomes more prevalent, a Perth duo have found a way to combat it: with AI.

“We leverage credit for so many life milestones — like buying your first home,” says Personr Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Charlie Westerman.

“Unfortunately, that’s not something I’ll be able to do for a long time. Identity theft doesn’t have a clear resolution, it’s not like the banks suddenly forgive you,” he says.

Mr Westerman had his identity stolen when he was 18 — and he only found out about it trying to get a loan for his first car.

“Aside from ruining my credit score, I quickly learned the banks and credit bureaus weren’t willing to assist and I had to spend tens of thousands with credit lawyers,” he says.

It’s this personal experience which led to the founding of Personr. Together, at age 22, he and Nicholas Ahrens are now trying to bring complex fraud detection and identity verification to the mainstream.

“We founded the company in late 2021, built the platform in 2022, and launched in early 2023,” he says

“The journey has been hard work but nothing short of incredible. We’re building a real community with our customers, who come to us to meet their compliance requirements — but stay knowing they’re actively preventing identity fraud.”

Personr’s technology is verifying identities worldwide by tapping into government and commercial databases alongside utilising machine learning algorithms to detect fraud which even the best human eye can’t detect — such artificially generated or forged identity documents.

Personr co-founders Charlie Westerman and Nicholas Ahrens on stage.
Personr co-founders Charlie Westerman and Nicholas Ahrens pitching at Plus EIGHT demo night.

And Personr’s technology couldn’t have come at a better time either, according to Westerman.

APAC is leading the way for fraud, at $1.1 trillion, and that figure is only increasing,” he says.

“Between stolen and artificially generated identity, fraud is rampant.”

Personr is providing its technology to small to medium sized businesses — on a subscription basis — to help them achieve Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance.

Personr also covers startups, small to medium enterprises, and larger companies, and says it has an average verification time of 60 seconds.

“Our industry has severely overcomplicated identity verification — to the point where small-to-medium enterprises feel they’re better off using paper forms or asking for identity documents over email,” Mr Westerman says

“We’re changing that, most notably for accountants and financial planners — who are still required to comply, but don’t have bank level resources.”

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Gera Kazakov

Gera Kazakov

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