Email the Key to Preventing Fraud?

Preventing fraud within your business can be simplified with the right tools, and at Tower Data, fraud prevention is one of the many reasons clients use our Email Activity Metric fields.


To dive into this topic a bit deeper, we spoke with Timothy Li, a FinTech expert and the CEO at Alchemy, and explored how to use email as an early fraud prevention tool, some of the common email red flags, and why Email Activity Metrics along with first party data can be a powerful combination.

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How does Email Activity Metrics work?

Email Activity Metrics, at its core, scores email addresses based on four key metrics:

  • Date first seen: The date TowerData first encountered the email address
  • Longevity: A score indicating when TowerData first encountered the email address
  • Velocity: A score describing the level of activity of the email address over the past 6 months
  • Popularity: A score reflecting the popularity of the email across TowerData sources in the past 12 months

Each of these metrics is critical in its own way for understanding whether or not an email address is potentially fraudulent, but Li agreed that age is especially important. “If an email shows activity over a longer period of time, it’s probably legit. But if you start seeing emails with less activity and/or relatively recent create dates, that’s a sign the email is potentially fraudulent.”

This falls right in line with TowerData’s feedback from clients; many suggest that the date first seen of an email is typically a strong indicator of an email’s legitimacy. That said, velocity and popularity have their place, too. And when these data points combine with a client’s first party data/analysis, the client can gain excellent insight into how widely used an email is, and, therefore, its legitimacy. This means fewer fake or malicious leads, customer inquiries, and purchases.

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Real Emails Preserve Your CRM’s Integrity

Fraudulent data is prevalent across all verticals, from ticket resellers, to short term loans, lead generation, and, ironically, even for fraud technology companies. And while these industries experience more fraudulent email attempts than others, it doesn’t mean your business couldn’t benefit from the Email Activity Metric data.

Li says that, no matter what, “there are no silver bullets – you have to triangulate as many data points as possible to determine discrepancies between emails and first party data.” How will data use evolve in fraud prevention? “Location data will play a larger role in forecasting email legitimacy because more clients use apps to engage with customers and some of the engagement involves consent to share a location,” says Li.

Let’s take a look at this in a lending scenario: if someone applies for a loan, a company or bank can take a look at their location data provided consensually through the app. If the applicant’s location data shows they haven’t left their home in the past week, it’s likely they don’t have employment and therefore wouldn’t be a good fit for the loan. In a student lending environment, the same can apply.

Essentially, if someone applies for a loan and their location remains stagnant, it doesn’t bode well for the legitimacy of that application.

Email Activity Metrics help determine an email’s legitimacy. Regardless of your business, it’s a good idea to use email data analysis as front line fraud detection to preserve the integrity of your CRM. To learn more about Email Activity Metrics and easily access the data, schedule an appointment with our team today!