Startup Check-In

Emailage Braces For Holiday Fraud Uptick

It’s no surprise that the holidays mean increased eCommerce traffic – and therefore, increased instances of fraud. The fraudsters often get away with it, too, simply because many merchants are overwhelmed by the volume of traffic and can’t give sketchy transactions their due consideration. Sometimes, they don’t even notice the sketchy transactions at all.

After five Christmases, five Hanukkahs, five Black Fridays and five Cyber Mondays, Arizona-based startup Emailage — the identity verification company delivering risk scores to financial institutions (FIs) and online merchants based on customers’ email addresses – has defenses down to a science.

During the holidays, it takes an A-plus effort from Emailage and the merchants who use it to really stay on top of transaction risk assessment and approval. The startup’s clients should not have to wait longer for risk assessment results just because there’s more traffic, said Emailage Director of Marketing Dorothy Wolden. That delay can become a deal-breaker on the consumer’s end.

The merchants who work with Emailage must beef up staffing and approach the season with a plan, Wolden said. They must have their tech in ship-shape and have all the rules dialed in on their fraud detection systems. They must anticipate a higher rate of manual reviews and increase the analysts on duty. Emailage, meanwhile, also must beef up staffing, with every employee on call, said Wolden.

“We don’t sit back during this season,” Wolden said. “We’re here to work side-by-side with our customers.”

Banks likewise see increased activity around this time of year as more people are applying for credit to finance holiday spending. With Emailage, there’s an opportunity to catch fraudsters at the application point before they get a chance to cause any trouble.

Simply looking at the data that a consumer enters on an eCommerce site or credit card application is not always enough to give merchants and FIs a better picture of who’s behind the card, said Wolden. But tracing an email address back to an identity, history, and social presence can do that.

Especially with so many new identities on the black market after the Equifax breach, said Wolden, Emailage is anticipating an uptick in account takeover and synthetic identity fraud, and banks and merchants must prepare for that.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.