Global risk assessment 101: The importance of international data in identity verification and fraud prevention 

After 20 years of being on the cutting edge of identity data, we’re still tackling the toughest of data dilemmas to help companies solve their global risk assessment and international identity verification challenges. These challenges have increasingly become more complex as the world’s digital and mobile modes of operation go global, requiring exceptional international data. Balancing a great customer experience with effective fraud protection adds a new layer of difficulty when verifying sign-ups or transactions along the entire customer lifecycle.

One of our latest initiatives has been focused on the expansion of Ekata’s leading international identity verification solution, Pro Insight Identity Check, into global markets.

So many of our customers provide global services and products, and it’s difficult to normalize, validate and verify international identity verification data across various markets. So, it made sense for us to tackle this challenge for them and doing it well, well, it’s quite difficult.” – Kushal Shah, Director of Product Management, Ekata.

And here’s why. There are 195 countries and 61 territories in the world today. Actually, let’s say there are actually 196 countries, depending on your diplomatic relations status with China. Although, to be precise, the official country name is People’s Republic of China. But let’s get back to it. In the United States, we are fortunate to have a very mature, public data industry in which there are many different types of companies that have built businesses on data monetization. This means we can access to vast amounts of data to use for identity verification and fraud prevention. Unfortunately, outside of the US, this industry is at mixed stages of maturation on a country-by-country basis. Some countries, like the UK, are pretty close in terms of the necessary infrastructure and data companies to facilitate this type of market, while others like Mexico, are still up and coming.

Furthermore, data privacy restrictions vary significantly depending on the country, impacting our ability to source data in these countries and hindering international identity verification efforts.  It is fairly well known that the US has pretty relaxed data privacy rules, while on the other side of the Atlantic, European countries are traditionally much more conservative and closed off with their data. As a result, there is far more data available in the US than in most EU countries.

As mentioned in our opener above, at Ekata we got started on US data over 20 years ago. And, just by virtue of our roots dating back to the late 90s, we have built up a massive database of US consumers and businesses that few other companies can compete with. That said, we’re still making big strides on a daily basis with our international identity verification data and are always looking at different ways to improve our coverage and accuracy abroad.

Fortunately, we have International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. This is good thing because ISO International Standardsensure that businesses have the strategic tools they need to develop in new markets and enable developing countries to facilitate free and global trade and level the playing fields.

The problem is international identity verification is no piece of cake. Since every country has their own unique way of structuring addresses, phone numbers and calling codes, international data “normalization” is hard to come by, not to mention all of the different languages represented in the global data records. At Ekata, we are very excited about the great progress we’ve made to provide a uniform response to global risk assessment challenges by providing the elements of name, email, IP, physical address and phone data in every country in the world. Here is an example of why this challenge affects companies that require global identity verification on customer transactions: 

Imagine you are an international airline attempting to verify orders for plane tickets in 46 countries around the globe. You receive name, email address, phone number and billing address on all of your orders. Unfortunately, you won’t know if the credit card used was stolen until 30-60 days after the flight was taken. To properly perform a global risk assessment, verifying the identity of the purchasing party, you need to ensure the phone number is real, the email is valid, the billing address is legitimate, and the IP address where the order was placed is close to the billing address and isn’t using a proxy server. To do this without Ekata, first, you’d need your own data science team and second, you would have to find address verification services in all 46 countries, build logic around how each provider responds to your request and do so for each data attribute you’re trying to source, aggregate, corroborate and validate. Multiply this across data providers for phones, emails, etc. and the problem compounds into an unmanageable situation, leaving most companies blind when attempting international identity verification on customer transactions. 


Solving these and other complex problems around phones, addresses, emails and IPs allows us to provide a reliable and consistent response globally, giving companies the confidence to use our data worldwide. 

Our foundation is built around rich, complete and accurate data, and continue to strive to provide industry leading data not just in North America, but globally, to help companies do the following: 


  • Perform international identity verification for shipping 
  • Fine-tune data modeling algorithms 
  • Perform a global risk assessment of on transactions to mitigate fraud 
  • Normalize multiple data sources 


This, above is, all done by providing data on phones, such as carrier, line type and phone location, as well as addresses, including exact location and street-level validation. Also, data on emails, like first seen dates and disposable status and IP information including geolocation, proxy, connection type, distance from input address and phone and, in certain markets, the ownership of phone, addresses and emails. 

To learn more about what data attributes are available in the countries you do business in, contact one of our data experts. 



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