SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Hampton Roads startup is working to help make online transactions and meetings safer in-person.
In December, Virginia Beach police say a number of reports came in about dash-and-grab PlayStation 5 robberies when sellers met up with buyers they met online.
Dennis Woodbury says the incident reminded him of why he created the app, eZverifi.
“There was an elderly couple that had been robbed and killed after seeking their dream car on Craigslist. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed after looking at that. I was upset that happened,” he said. “That was someone’s parents, friends, relatives. I felt something had to be done to protect people who were only and meeting strangers.”
Woodbury incorporated the company in 2019 and last year, they participated in the Start Peninsula Pitch Competition to learn more about business.
He says the app is easy to use after it’s downloaded and all users have to do is fill out a few questions. Once those are answered, they can verify the identities of others who use the app with either a phone number or email address and can leave ratings about their interactions.
If the person they’re meeting does not use the app, they can send a link for the other person to fill out questions and eZverifi will or will not recommend meeting that person based on the information they are given.
Woodbury says their database is powered by TransUnion, which is a credit reporting agency.
“We are conscious of privacy. We’re not asking for anything that’s not there. That’s why we say an email or phone number is what you need. That’s the only thing that’s shared with anybody else,” he said.
He says that since the internet is such an integral part of society, it’s important for consumers to keep themselves safe just like companies.
Right now, Woodbury says they’re working with social media sites and have expanded their audience to include those who use dating sites, freelancers, and real estate agencies.
“We want to be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem,” he said.
The app costs $9.99 to join.
To learn more, click here.