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How to do address verification for customers


longhorn1999

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Hi everyone,

 

I've been using PayPal Pro with my site for a while now and it seems to be working OK. When someone buys something online, the API lets me know if there's an address/zip code/CVV match with the credit card.

 

This is usually fine, though with some high dollar items, I like to double check things just to be safe. If someone makes a purchase over the phone, I get the entire 16 digit credit card and it's not a problem since I can call MC/Visa/AmEx/Discover.

 

However with strictly online purchases, I only see what card they used and the last 4 digits. As a result, when I call the card company (if the customer gives me the toll-free # on the back of their card), they usually won't help me since I don't have a merchant account and I only have 4 of the 16 digits. Some banks have a bit more common sense and realize that it's in their interest to prevent fraud as well, but they don't have smart procedures in place.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions for a way to better verify the authenticity of customers? I usually do google searches on customers for large items where I can't do a standard merchant address verification and that sometimes works.

 

But does anyone use a paid service like intellius.com or whitepages.com or spokeo.com or a reverse phone directory or some other system to verify that X customer actually lives at Y address?

 

Luckily I haven't been burned yet, but potential fraud is really the only significant concern about e-commerce that I ever have.

 

Any feedback is much appreciated.

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  • 1 month later...

If you have all the typical transaction information except the CC, you can use a variety of tools to analyze the other bits of the transaction.

 

You already mentioned a few services that can be used and some merchants do use those. I find spokeo email search to be effective in seeing the email address is real and what information are associated with it.

 

If you have the full billing or shipping address, you can potentially also look at Rapleaf. They have a service that lets to verify if the email matches up with what they have on record for the name and address for that email. A sort of identity verification tool based on email address. If there is a match, it would be a pretty good indication that the order is good since fraudsters will typically not use the email address of the actual cardholder since the cardholder will get an order confirmation via email and know that their card has been compromised. Coverage is not is 100% but tests I've seen shows promise.

 

If you have the phone number and the full shipping, you can look at a company called Pacific East Telified. They verify the name and address against the phone company's billing records. Similar to reason above, fraudsters typically don't put down the phone number of the actual cardholder. Or the tool can be used in this way, if there is a match, it can help you verify that the person you are calling is the actual cardholder.

 

Since practically everyone is on facebook these days, you can try to look up the user on facebook (prob easier via email) and see if there are any matches to verify the other pieces of information you have.

 

Hope that helps.

 

If you have the IP address, you can do a geolocation lookup of the IP address. Would be a positive sign if the IP location is close to the billing or shipping address.

Ed L.

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It's always going to be a pain in the ass, but, here's our way:


  •  
    No AVS Match: Ask yourself the following:


      •  
        do items on order make sense and go together?

      •  
        Is of a normal amount?

      •  
        Do you have a good gut feeling about the order?

      •  
        If any of the above are no:

        •  
          call the customer,

        •  
          Ask why it's not coming up right

        •  
          If you want to investigate further

          •  
            get their card #, exp, full proper address, and 1-800 on back of card,

          •  
            call the bank, thell them you want to do AVS

          •  
            Verify the card, if they don't try to give you static about it

          [*]

           

          If you can't get in touch with the customer refund that crap.

3 years ago, we lost a few thousand in back charges. We started following a procedure like that, and we haven't had any this year, and thats out of a few thousand orders.

 

I'm not saying that this is the only way to do it, but it has worked for my dad and I.

 

the IP idea is very good.

 

I find that talking to the person on the phone lets you get a good feel for them, and puts us at ease.

 

Our concerning orders are usually around $700-1500. If your orders are for significantly more, by all means use every tool you can.

 

but one thing we've found is that, we're so damn busy, that we often just ship an order for $20 even if we don't have any AVS. The scammers seem to always go big.

 

And we're lucky cause we sell motorcycle parts so we can see:

 

3 parts for the same bike, looks legit, ship it.

3 parts for completely different bikes, looks odd, call the person, ask them about their bikes.

10 identical parts that aren't popular parts, to a suite # in NYC, reach for the refund button.

 

the real thieves have no idea what they're grabbing, just like when they break into a store.

A little knowledge of php goes a long way.

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Manual review of the order and common sense is definitely one of the best things to do. However, manual review is costly in terms of time. There are many tools out there that will help speed up the process of manual review like discussed above.

Ed L.

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Manual review of the order and common sense is definitely one of the best things to do. However, manual review is costly in terms of time. There are many tools out there that will help speed up the process of manual review like discussed above.

 

 

Very true. It is definitely time consuming. So for larger order where you have more to lose, it can be worth every second, but for very small orders, it is actually better to just hit Ship or Refund.

 

One other thing to consider is, if you ship a bad order, and they get their money back, you lose the cost of goods, but if you just refund the order instead of shipping it, you lose the potential profit.

 

If the item is of little or no margin, refund the order, if it has a ton of markup, example: $20 order for a $2 part, take your chances.

A little knowledge of php goes a long way.

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