Could not confirm identity

This pattern lets the user know we could not confirm their identity and what they can do next. This is part of confirming their identity when they sign in with a Government Gateway account for the first time.

When to use

Use this pattern when we could not confirm the user’s identity. This may include when the user:

  • provides details that do not match those we have on file
  • does not complete the process
  • does not provide enough information
  • makes too many attempts

Doing this helps the user complete the task they are trying to do. It also helps reduce time and money spent dealing with queries received by phone and post.

There is also a pattern when we have confirmed their identity.

How it works

Use the standard page template from your service and have the same:

  • header
  • phase banner
  • footer

The page should have:

  • ‘We could not confirm your identity – service name – GOV.UK’ as the page title
  • ‘We could not confirm your identity’ as the <h1> page heading
  • content that explains what went wrong and what they can do
  • a call to action

We could not confirm your identity

The information you have entered does not match our records.

Try again
Welsh translation of this example

Nid oeddem yn gallu cadarnhau pwy ydych

Nid yw’r wybodaeth yr ydych wedi’i nodi yn cyd-fynd â’n cofnodion.

Rhowch gynnig arall arni

We could not confirm your identity

You have not given us enough information.

Try again
Welsh translation of this example

Nid oeddem yn gallu cadarnhau pwy ydych

Nid ydych wedi rhoi digon o wybodaeth i ni.

Rhowch gynnig arall arni

Avoid ending a journey

Offer the user a way of continuing to use the service where possible.

If this is not possible, provide another way for the user to do what they need to do. This could be another service where they do not need to confirm their identity.

We could not confirm your identity

You have entered information that does not match our records too many times. For security reasons, you must wait 24 hours and then sign in to try again.

You can change other VAT details without confirming your identity.

Welsh translation of this example

Nid oeddem yn gallu cadarnhau pwy ydych

Rydych wedi nodi gwybodaeth nad yw’n cyd-fynd â’n cofnodion gormod o weithiau. Am resymau diogelwch, mae’n rhaid i chi aros 24 awr ac yna mewngofnodi i roi cynnig arall arni.

Gallwch newid manylion TAW eraill heb gadarnhau pwy ydych.

Understand the user’s journey

Work with the team responsible for the microservice that confirms a user’s identity to understand how the process works. This will help you decide what is the best thing to tell the user to help them complete the process.

Tell users what they will need to confirm their identity when they start to use the service

List what the user needs in the ‘before you start’ information where the service starts.

Give the user extra help when they have a deadline

Help the user confirm their identity as quickly as possible if they must do something by a specific time and the deadline is close. For example, a Self Assessment tax return or tax credit renewal.


We need more research. If you have used could not confirm identity, get in touch to share your research findings.

Discuss could not confirm identity on GitHub

Help and support

Contact the Service Design Tools team in #team-sdt on HMRC Slack (open in app) or email us.