Adverse Media Screening is essentially a check on any negative information on an individual or entity discovered across various sources, i.e. reputable news or other unstructured publications linking the individual or entity to involvement in corruption, money-laundering, terrorism/threat financing any/or other unlawful activities.

First AML conducts Adverse Media screening through our service provider Comply Advantage on individuals verified via the First AML Platform. Comply Advantage generate a report for any individuals whose details match those of a person involved in negative media; these reports are accessible via the First AML platform.

This article will outline how Adverse Media checks are surfaced in the First AML platform, what the results mean, and how to further review any matches or possible matches.

Please note, not all First AML customers have access to Adverse Media Screening within the First AML Platform.



Why do we run Adverse Media Screening?

Adverse Media checks, while not mandated in verification guidance as PEP checks are, provide an additional layer of security by searching online news sources for an individual’s name - think of it like an Advanced Google search.

The benefit of an Adverse Media check is to find additional relevant information often via international news sources. This can provide further insight into your customers background.


First AML conduct Adverse Media screening checks on individuals verified via the First AML Platform. These checks are surfaced in the individual profile to be presented with one of the following results:

  • Match (Red Flag) = Positive Adverse Media match identified

  • Possible Match (Orange Flag) = Match identified, First AML have been unable to determine whether the match is positive or negative

  • No Match (Green Flag) = No Adverse Media match identified

What is a Match?

An Adverse Media Match means that this individual has been identified as a subject of adverse press.

What is a Possible Match?

What is a Possible Match?

A Possible Adverse Media Match means that some of the individuals details (e.g. name, dob, country) match with an individual who is linked to adverse media, however we have been unable to determine a positive match. The possible match flag is to show that some details have matched however there appear to be discrepancies in information, spelling, location, and/or not enough information.

What is No Match?

No Match means that this individual has not been identified as a subject of adverse press.

How to determine whether a possible match is true or false

When an individual is flagged as a possible Adverse Media match, the next step is for your team to further investigate to determine whether the match is true or false.

Locating the Comply Advantage Report

To locate the information generated by Comply Advantage, follow the below steps:

  1. Navigate to the relevant case within the First AML Platform
  2. Click on the name of the relevant individual (with an orange or red flag)
  3. Click into the “Verifications” tab
  4. Scroll down to “Screening”
  5. Click the red “Match” text within the screening table

This will prompt a new tab to open containing all potential matches for the individual and the reasons for the match.

Selecting More Details for a potential match will display the sources of their match and any additional information.

Reviewing the Match

To review the match you will need to open the comply advantage report and determine which details match those of your clients. For example:

1. Name: Does their first, middle, last name, match? Is the spelling the same? Is this a common name?

2. DOB: Does their date of birth match?

3. Associated Country/Citizenship: Does their country/citizenship match?

4. Photo: If their is an image of the individual, does it match with your client?

If you cannot determine whether match is true or false from these details, additional google searching of the match is recommended, and you may choose to address this directly with the individual to assist.

Determining the next step


There is no legislative requirement around Adverse Media checks. It is at your discretion, after completing a further risk assessment based on the information provided, as to whether you may continue working with a customer who has been identified as a Match.

Your internal risk processes, the nature and purpose of the transaction, what type of match it is and what type of work you are conducting for the customer are all factors to consider when determining the next step. For example, if the individual has matched for multiple accounts of suspected insurance fraud and tax evasion, you may want to consider elevating the risk level and conducting EDD.

Possible Match - False

For individuals who have been flagged as a possible match and determined by you to be a negative match, make a note of this within the Compliance Notes section of the case.