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Trully | Digital footprint as a fraud prevention tool
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Digital footprint as a fraud prevention tool

  • Mar 20, 2023 ● 5 minute read
Footprint in the sand

The digital era has achieved endless benefits, from the ease of communicating with a person anywhere in the world in real time, to the possibility of buying all kinds of things from the couch in our living room; leaving with each activity we do on the internet, an indelible record.

Every time we do a Google search, make a new TikTok video, shop on Amazon or simply watch our friends' Instagram stories, we leave traces of data behind, this traces are called "digital footprint" and with previously existing information or not (yes, because the lack of information can also tell us a lot about something) someone's digital identity is built; someone's image that the Internet projects of some entity. We will focus on this in this article.

The digital footprint is unique for each person, business or organization and is generally classified as: active and passive. The active footprint is created when the user deliberately shares data or personal information through different websites, for example, when we fill out a form of an online class, interact and post in a social network, or receive some type of content. The passive footprint on the other hand, consists of all the data collected without the user knowing.

This data may include information about our interests, online behavior, search history, location, among others, and may be used to hyper-personalize the ads we see on different platforms, to improve products and services, or even to make some decisions. For example, if we are looking for a job, recruiters could check our social networks to learn more about us and assess whether or not we are suitable for the position.

For this reason, it is important to be aware of each action and interaction that we have, as well as the information that we share on the internet, because without exception our digital record speaks more about ourselves than our own memory; since this information is public and freely accessible, it can help many industries, including prevention and detection of digital fraud, becoming a source of information very valuable to detect and identify fraudsters in time and prevent large economic losses.

Here are some examples:

  1. Detection of suspicious behavior. For example, if a bank account shows unusual transactions or if an IP address is used from different geographic locations in a short period of time.

  2. Identity verification. It can be used to verify a person's identity through IP address validation, transaction history, password usage patterns, etc.

  3. Monitoring of financial transactions. To track financial transactions and detect any suspicious activity, this may include monitoring bank accounts and identifying transactions that are not consistent with the history of previously made transactions.

  4. Personal data protection. To protect the personal data of users, such as the IP address and the information of the device you usually use.

  5. Phishing prevention. To detect phishing attempts and other social engineering attacks.

  6. Analysis of social networks. To analyze if an email or phone is linked to social networks, to which profiles and for how long.

  7. Background Check. To check a person's background and detect potential fraud in their online activity history. This may include checking social media profiles and reviewing previous transaction records.

For all of the above, it is important to constantly monitor our applicants, have a good history of their online activities and be able to analyze all this information, so that it can allow us to identify any anomaly in time and anticipate fraudsters. According to PwC's Global Economic Crime and Fraud survey, 42% of entities that use big data for fraud detection and prevention have significantly reduced their economic losses.

At Trully, with data enrichment, we enrich the data of more than 500 variables to increase the assertiveness of your machine learning models through valuable information about IP address, email, device type, geolocation, among others. This information will help you discover if someone is applying from a risky location or if the email is newly created and lacks a significant digital footprint, helping you prevent identity or first-party fraud or even prevent your company from money laundering.

We know that criminals evolve and improve their attack methods, that is why we continually work to create innovative solutions that respond to the market needs, keeping our clients protected and benefiting the ecosystem with our technology. Trully, real solutions against fraud.

  • Author: Eric Balderrama - CISO
    Lawyer expert in cybersecurity, with extensive experience in preventing digital fraud in the banking and financial sector in Latin America. Tireless fighter against identity theft and account take over.

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