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Interviews

Amador Testa, Emailage: The key role of email risk assessment in fraud prevention

Thursday 9 March 2017 | 08:41 AM CET

Assessing the fraud risk associated with an email address is an effective way to identify card-not-present fraud and identity theft

What does 'email risk assessment' mean?

Email risk assessment is the process of using a commonly collected piece of data, the email address, as the basis for transactional risk assessment and fraud prevention. However, email risk assessment goes beyond basic comparative information. The process consists of building a complete picture of the reputation and true identity of the buyer by using data associated with an email address. With this information available as an up-front layer of security, fraud managers are empowered with intelligence for accurate evaluation.

Why is the email address a good starting point for fraud prevention strategies?

When was the last time you opened an account or bought something online without an email address? It’s pretty much impossible to use the internet without an email address today. We like to compare it to a global digital passport, because the email address is an identifier used by websites and cloud services, during transactions, by most websites, and even operating systems such as Google Android, Microsoft Windows and Apple OS.

Despite a blizzard of new forms of communication, it is clear that the email address remains the only consistent form across time, region and devices. However, while many companies capture email and have a simple blacklist (a requirement in today’s markets), few are systematically leveraging the intelligence associated with the email address.

Could you elaborate a bit more on the product; how does it work, what are the use cases, and what are the results in terms of blocking fraud and conversion?

The results speak for themselves: last year we were able to save our customers over USD 1 billion in fraud losses.

Emailage combines fraud data coming from our contributory consortium model (40M+ fraud emails), with machine learning algorithms, email history, domain intelligence, IP intelligence, name/ownership verification, phone data, addresses and social media data to identify fraud events.

From those elements, a predictive fraud score represents the overall fraud risk of the transaction. The score is generated by assessing the fraud risk of each individual element, as well as the interaction between them, in order to determine the transaction risk level.

Our customers are finding that assessing the fraud risk associated with an email address is a very effective way to identify card-not-present fraud as well as identity theft (fraudulent applications and account takeovers). Our solution is being used as an up-front layer of security to help further reduce their overall fraud risk while approving more transactions.

How global is your solution? Which regions do you cover and what are the specific challenges of different regions?

We have customers from a wide variety of industries that process transactions in more than one hundred countries. Based on our most recent network measures, we have coverage for over 5 billion emails and can provide data for more than 96% of email addresses that we process. For the remaining 4% of domains, we are still able to capture the domain information, including country, name and creation date.

The constant growth of our network enables 80% of the fraud detected to be driven by attributes coming from our proprietary algorithms along with our global network, which makes our solution less dependent on external data points.

When was the company founded and what is the background of the executive team?

Before Emailage was founded in 2012, companies had their own silo-ed technologies to incorporate email in their fraud tools, in which they would do one-to-one comparisons and maintain internal blacklists.

Emailage founder Rei Carvalho identified the opportunity to change the entire fraud landscape by breaking these silos between companies, collecting email address history and creating ways to assess the risk of any transaction associated with an email address.

I joined the team to provide the fraud background and knowledge that would allow us to take things to the next level and play a much bigger role in the industry.

How did you grow since the start and how do you see your company evolving in the years to come?

As the first company to market Email Risk Assessment, we took advantage of a big industry gap/need for a solution that provides intelligence driven by the email address. We kept on focusing on our core and investing in a solution that would evolve based on the data processed and fraud feedback provided by our merchants.

We started with the email address and focused entirely on making our core product better. As a result of that investment, today we are linking IP addresses, name, addresses, devices and phones to the email, so we can perform better link analysis and risk profiling.

We are dedicated to uniting companies in the fight against fraud. That is the reason why we treat every customer like a partner, because they are. At this moment, any new merchant that comes to our network has immediate benefit of our immense network. The byproduct here is that new merchants also make our network better by giving it more coverage.

In the future, with the changes on the payment space driven by mobile devices, EMV and other solutions, online fraud will only continue to rise. Research by Aite Group predicts that by 2020 CNP fraud will reach USD 7.2 billion in the US alone. At the same time, customers have come to expect a seamless buying experience. In between these two trends, we see email risk assessment as playing a key role in expediting legitimate transactions without friction while keeping fraudsters at bay.

About Amador Testa

Amador is Chief Product Officer at Emailage. He is an industry expert in online fraud, identity theft and cybercrime. Before Emailage, he was the head of fraud for card acquisitions at American Express and later led global fraud prevention divisions at Citigroup. Amador enjoys playing tennis, running marathons and traveling with his family.

 

About Emailage

Founded in 2012, Emailage works with Fortune 500 financial institutions, merchants, businesses and organizations around the world to ensure everyday online transactions are easier, more efficient and more secure. Headquartered in Arizona, USA Emailage also has offices in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

They are the experts in email risk assessment tools and empowering fraud teams to increase profits by reducing fraud, lowering manual review costs and boosting acceptance rates. To learn more, visit: www.emailage.com.

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