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April 14th, 2022 | Sterling

Inventing Anna – How to Avoid the Annas of the World and Protect your Business


Inventing Anna is the hot new show on Netflix and it’s no wonder, it’s got it all – high-class hotels, lavish parties, private jet travel to exotic destinations, an indistinguishable European accent, along with a long con that is gradually revealed to viewers.

The show dramatises the life of Anna Sorokin, a young woman who created an entirely fictionalised identity as Anna Delvey, a rich German heiress living it up in New York City. Anna manipulates people, hotels and banks to support this false identity and is successful for several years as she weaves a wild web of money across the city and gains investment for her new business venture from cashed-up investors.

The ease with which Anna was able to manipulate and defraud people and businesses made us don our “work hats” and think, “if only they had implemented thorough screening protocols, these people and businesses could have been much more protected against the risk and significant losses incurred…”

If you’re in the business of providing high-value goods and services or large volume transactions, the implementation of identity screening can help protect your business from others who might have the same devious idea. Because Anna’s con is just the tip of the iceberg – identity fraud for the general public is on the way up. This has become a growing concern in the UK, with the ONS reporting a record 5 million cases in 2021.

The pandemic has helped to drive this growth through significant increases in online activity, both in financial transactions and general sharing of information. Sensitive information therefore became much more available to fraudsters and they were able to exploit this information to transact and apply for new accounts under their assumed identity.

Identity fraud causes significant financial detriment to both the person whose identity has been stolen along with the business that is defrauded. And as any business owner knows, these types of fraudulent transactions are a headache of written-off money and time spent on administration to unravel its effects.

Prevention is therefore the best cure and that’s where identity fraud screening products can provide significant benefits.

We would argue that identity verification is vital for any businesses providing big-ticket purchases and high-volume transactions. It’s especially a no-brainer when digital identity applications are simpler to implement than ever before.

One cost effective tool for businesses to use is Sterling’s UK Right to Work Verification, Powered by Sterling Identity. This is a digital ID solution that uses facial recognition and fraud detection technology as part of a seamless, in-session experience which ultimately mitigates the risk of identity fraud. 

If you’d like to learn more about digital identity for Right to Work checks and DBS criminal record checks, and the evolving hiring landscape, our Digital Identity Hub features essential and up-to-date resources.


This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.