zero trust identity verification

Email and IP: The Digital Side of Identity Verification

More and more, brick-and-mortar lenders are taking their businesses online. This shift towards digital transactions invites a whole new challenge to the way lenders verify the identity of their prospects and customers.

Traditional identity signals—name, address, and phone number—are still mainstays when it comes to assessing fraudulent applicants. However, too many companies have just digitized their brick-and-mortar applications rather than rethinking the application process through the lens of online transaction.

This can be a problem when lenders don’t include digital identity signals like IP or email address in their identity verification process, simply because they barely existed when many of these shops started lending and are less relevant in a face-to-face transaction.

In the new online environment of lending, digital signals (email and IP) must be reviewed along with traditional signals (name, address, and phone number) to tell the full story of the identity behind the applicant.

What digital signals tell us about identity

Taking a look at an applicant’s email address in combination with their IP address can tell us a surprising amount about the veracity of their identity. Some of the data points we can get from email and IP that correlate to fraud are:

  • Email first seen date: Was the email address created recently, or has it been active for years?
  • Disposable or automatically generated email: Was the email spun up by a bot for the purpose of fraud?
  • IP proxy to the company: Is the applicant physically located within your region?
  • IP distance from phone/address: Is the applicant physically located near their physical address or phone area code?

Alignment across these digital identity traits is just as important as having a phone-to-name or address-to-name match. Especially as these are the identity elements easiest for fraudsters to fabricate. Many applications may in fact look legitimate across traditional signals, but when combined with digital signals sound the alarm of synthetic identity fraud – such as a recently seen email alongside a lengthy distance between IP and physical address match.

Uniting the power of digital and traditional identity signals

When you move your business online, your customers adopt a digital identity in addition to their traditional identity. When assessing fraud in your online lending workflow, it’s important to leverage these digital signals alongside traditional ones (like matches between name, address, and phone) to make identity assessments.

Lenders who want to successfully move into the online lending space, need to take into account both traditional and digital identity signals, and work with a data partner who can identify linkages and highlight risk factors between both sets of data attributes.

Ekata’s Pro Insight works with the five core traditional and digital data attributes of email, phone, name, address, and IP in order to help you verify the identities of your applicants so you can block fraudsters while speeding good customers through to funding.

Related content