New PIPL Pro Bucks Trend on Manual Review

Search engine company signs Magento as client for tool for in-house fraud analysts.

The people search company, PIPL, launched a business version of its search engine on February 15 for use by fraud analysts conducting manual reviews of card-not-present transactions.

The new professional version, called PIPL Pro, allows business users to look up the contact, work and social information of over 3 billion people. The primary appeal it holds for fraud analysts is the ability to search the identity of the people by specific email addresses, online usernames and mobile phone numbers. Added features include the ability to determine the relative age of email addresses, past locations where individuals lived and information on other individuals associated with the person being searched.

Magento is one among several e-commerce focused platforms and retail brands who are already paid customers, the company reported, and several other major retailers and financial institutions have inquired about using the new tool.

Better manual review

According to the MRC’s 2014 Global Fraud Survey, merchants typically spend 50%-60% of their total fraud management budgets on manual review of transactions. Most fraud prevention vendors address this pain point for merchants by offering solutions that reduce the amount of transactions that are directed to in-house fraud analysts for review. Until now, very few non-automated tools have been created specifically to help fraud analysts become more effective in conducting manual reviews, which makes PIPL’s professional search engine stand out.

Fraud analysts can use PIPL Pro to quickly find more information to probe suspicious card-not-present orders that can be indicative of fraud but may also be legitimate transactions. For example, PIPL Pro’s ability to both search by email address and return multiple email address results can be used to determine if an email used in a suspect transaction indeed belongs to the credit cardholder, a completely different individual or was created recently and may be a disposable email address.

Another potential fraud scenario is when a customer submits an online order with the items to be delivered to a relative’s address, something that happens frequently with college students. Fraud analysts can use the search engine to determine if the cardholder lived at one point at the shipping location or is closely associated with someone who does, even if they don’t share the same surname.

PIPL Pro vs. LexisNexis

Unlike PIPL’s free basic search engine, the business version has three different annual plans all based on a monthly price per seat model. The entry plan provides an individual user 200 searches per month for a monthly fee of $99. An intermediate plan enables users to enter 500 searchers for $199 per month. For unlimited use of PIPL Pro, the company charges $399 a month. While the pricing is certainly not the cheapest on the market, PIPL presents the product as offering significantly better value than its nearest competitor.

“The closest thing out there available to fraud analysts would be LexisNexis’s Accurint product which costs 58 percent more on a per seat basis than PIPL’s unlimited plan,”

said PIPL Technology Evangelist Ronen Shnidman. “PIPL Pro also outstrips LexisNexis in its ability to determine the identity of the holder of an email address or online username, which is crucial in today’s world of e-commerce.”

From people search to fraud prevention

PIPL CTO Lev Ferdinskoif told About-Fraud that one of the main motivating factors to create a professional version of PIPL’s search engine was the heavy-use its free, consumer-oriented search engine received from major retailers and financial institutions.

“We developed PIPL Pro after noticing over the years that the biggest users of our free consumer-oriented search engine were in fact retailers, insurance companies and banks,” said Ferdinskoif. “Some corporations were sending so much traffic from unusual domains to the search engine that at first we suspected bots were at play.” He noted that the company repeatedly blocked a location in Virginia from using PIPL’s basic search engine for suspicious large-scale use until discovering that the traffic was in fact coming from an office for Amazon using a different web domain.

According to the company, PIPL’s free search engine at present sees significant traffic from 28 of the top 50 U.S. retailer corporations, including 10 of the top 10 U.S. e-commerce brands. In addition, nine of the top 10 U.S. banks and eight of the top 10 U.S. insurance companies use the free search engine, the company claimed in its latest press release.

In the coming months, PIPL told About-Fraud it intends to increase its presence in the fraud prevention market by attending several major risk and fraud prevention trade shows, including MRC Vegas, taking place March 13-16.

“For several years, we have seen consistent demand from businesses for an information provider that provides people data for the e-commerce age,” said Shnidman. “Address verification services and landline phone numbers are no longer good enough to sift out the bad guys in world of email, social media and burner phones. We expect to become an increasingly important data provider for merchants serious about preventing fraud and keeping a pleasant user experience for their e-commerce customers.”

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Author: Ronald Praetsch

Managing director and co-founder of About-Fraud. Ronald leverages his extensive experience in payments & fraud to inform the structure and content of the site. Outside of About-Fraud, Ronald consults regularly with merchants, payment service providers and fraud solution vendors. Before About-Fraud, he spent close to a decade in various payments and fraud prevention roles at Sift Science, Fareportal, and Pay.On in both Europe and North America.