Did you know that online fraud is costing businesses $57.8 billion in a year?

Fraudulent activities impact businesses beyond the cost of merchandise plus the additional fees related to shipping and charge backs. They also need to invest more in fraud prevention, which increases operational expense.

Many companies have also become restrictive about the types of orders they take — turning away legitimate customers and foregoing revenue opportunities. In fact, false declines are costing retailers $13.3 billion a year.

Not only is the cost of fraud impacting many businesses but it’s also growing at a fast pace. What can you do to protect your business against online fraud?

Email risk assessment is a key part of an effective fraud prevention strategy. It allows you to reap the wealth of data associated with a buyer’s email address. Here’s what you need to know:

What’s Email Risk Assessment?

Email risk assessment uses someone’s email address to validate other information about them that can be found online to validate a buyer’s identity. It allows you to go beyond basic comparative information and paint a complete picture based on the buyer’s reputation.

Unlike most fraud prevention tools that only analyze standard transaction data (e.g., name or address) that can be easily tricked by fraudsters using stolen information, email risk assessment utilizes non-transaction data to give businesses the additional intelligence to make educated, fast decisions.

Such data includes name matching, social media profiles, email address validity and whether or not the email address is found on an email blacklist. It paints a composite picture of the buyer so businesses can assess the full risk profile of a transaction.

Implement Email Risk Assessment With Reverse Email Lookup

Reverse email lookup, also known as “email background checks,” is one of the most effective methods to gain information about a person simply by entering their email address into an email analysis tool.

It works by searching public databases and social networks for links to the email address. You can gain information such as the person’s first and last name, social media activities, and much more.

Here’s what you can learn about a person when you run their email address through a reverse email lookup service:

  • Email address validity: verified using an SMTP check, you can find out if the email address is real or not.
  • Email domain type and quality: some email domains are more trustworthy than others. For example, by requiring users to go through a verification process (e.g., SMS verification) to improve security. You can also check the age of the domain, which would be more suspicious if it’s just been created recently. Meanwhile, a custom domain is easy to verify because you can quickly see if it exists and when it was registered. If the domain was just created, it could be a sign that it is being used as a throwaway email.
  • Social media lookup: also known as social media profiling, this process checks if the email address is used for accounts on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms. For example, it’s found that 76% of defaulting customers in the lending industry had no social media presence. A social media lookup can also give you information about the person’s name, location, workplace, and bio — all of which can inform risk assessment — without lengthy research.
  • Email address involved in data breaches: a good reverse email lookup tool allows you to compare an email address to those found in data breaches. You can determine how old the email address is and how regularly it was used. In addition, emails found in a data breach provide a higher trust score.
  • Email blacklist: you can check the email address against known public blacklists, which are created using information shared by fraud prevention, cybersecurity, and private companies to lower risk across the entire online landscape.
  • Email address quality: this helps you find out how likely an email address was created by a real user vs. a bot or fraudster by using string analysis to see if the email address looks genuine. For example, an email address is more suspicious if the name on the handle and account are different.


Email risk assessment can help you reduce fraud while generating more revenue because you can prevent good customers from getting caught in lengthy manual reviews. Not to mention, if you accidentally block a legitimate customer, you could risk losing its lifetime value.

With the help of reverse email lookup, you can facilitate the review process and improve the customer experience. By using the data footprint attached to every email address, you can effectively extract, collect, and analyze the data associated with the account.

To facilitate the process, you can use an email analysis tool that works fast in real-time, with the capability of processing information at scale. In addition, some advanced applications also offer a risk score, which helps you streamline the review process by identifying buyers that are below your pre-set risk threshold.