Behind the Scenes: High Risk Shipping Addresses

Just like good customers, fraudsters must provide a shipping address in order to receive merchandise. But fraudsters, who need to evade detection and efficiently resell stolen goods, leave traces in the shipping addresses they use. The minFraud Network collects data on shipping addresses and uses it to identify any high risk shipping addresses associated with the transactions you submit for review.

This blog post investigates some high risk shipping addresses known to MaxMind, as well as provides some general fraud review tips for identifying them.

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How to recognize legitimate proxy use
and reduce false positives during order review

As a merchant, you’ll frequently see cases where multiple orders with different billing addresses and payment methods are placed from the same IP address, and it’s not clear whether or not this indicates fraud.

Such activity could be a sign of fraud, with a fraudster testing multiple compromised credit cards. It could also be a sign that a fraudster is using a proxy to obscure his identity. There are times though when such activity is expected and flagging such transactions as fraudulent would mean denying good orders and frustrating customers. Continue reading

Case Study: Using Historical Transaction Data to Reduce Chargebacks

The new year has arrived. With transaction history from a busy holiday season on hand, this is a great time to take a look your historical transactions with a fresh and critical eye.

Reviewing your chargeback data to identify fraud patterns is a good way to get started. In this month’s blog post, we provide a case study of an online penny auction business, which improved their bottom line by doing just that. Continue reading

How to Protect Your Streaming Content from VPN & Proxy Traffic

As more and more TV, music, and movie content has moved online, a veritable industry has grown up around helping people to circumvent location based broadcast restrictions. Demonstrating the scale of the issue, GlobalWatchIndex reports that as many as 29% of VPN users globally accessed Netflix in one recent month. Tutorials for how to access this and other streaming services abound.

Streaming providers are required by content licensors to geographically restrict access to the content they license. Providers risk losing content licensors’ trust and ultimately risk losing their ability to license content from studios and other licensors if they are not able to restrict access based on where their customers are accessing this content from. This post describes the ways restrictions are being bypassed and offers some advice on solutions. Continue reading

Building Your Own MMDB Database for Fun and Profit

If you use a GeoIP database, you’re probably familiar with MaxMind’s MMDB format.

At MaxMind, we created the MMDB format because we needed a format that was very fast and highly portable. MMDB comes with supported readers in many languages. In this blog post, we’ll create an MMDB file which contains an access list of IP addresses. This kind of database could be used when allowing access to a VPN or a hosted application.

Tools You’ll Need

The code samples I include here use the Perl MMDB database writer and the Perl MMDB database reader. You’ll need to use Perl to write your own MMDB files, but you can read the files with the officially supported .NET, PHP, Java and Python readers in addition to unsupported third party MMDB readers. Many are listed on the GeoIP2 download page. So, as far as deployments go, you’re not constrained to any one language when you want to read from the database.

Following Along

Use our GitHub repository to follow along with the actual scripts. Fire up a pre-configured Vagrant VM or just install the required modules manually.

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Manual Review Best Practices:
Get More Data for a More Informed Decision

Thus far, our Best Practices Series has discussed how you can use the data provided by the minFraud service for better decision making during manual review.

But actionable data from minFraud starts with the inputs you include with each query.

The minFraud service requires that each query include the IP address associated with the transaction at a minimum; as best practices, MaxMind recommends you send as many data points as possible.

The more data points you provide, the better the riskScore and the more information you make available to your fraud analysts as part of the manual review process. Continue reading

Manual Review Best Practices: What’s the Value of Assessing IP Address Risk?

In this blog post, we continue our discussion of best practices for manual review. Today’s topic is assessing IP address risk.

A fraudster (or indeed, anyone) placing an order on a website uses a device (computer, mobile phone or tablet) and this device is associated with an IP address.

In our last blog post, we discussed how the physical location of the IP address can be matched against other location information to see if anything looks suspicious. For example, it’s best to closely scrutinize orders where the location of an IP address is in one country and the billing address in another.

Fraudsters recognize the power of geolocation in identifying fraud, so they act to hide their actual IP address and, by extension, their geographic location. The best way for them to take cover is to connect to the Internet using a proxy server. Popular hiding places include open proxies, hosting providers and VPNs. Continue reading

How to Use Geolocation to Identify Higher Risk Transactions

In our last blog post, we discussed how you can use a risk score to automate fraud screening, saving you time and money.

In this blog post, we begin our discussion of manual review best practices.

Studies show that, in North America, one in four orders on average receive extra scrutiny through the manual review process. The goal is to prevent the expense of chargebacks and customer issued credits associated with fraud. At the same time, you need to ensure that legitimate orders are not rejected unnecessarily, and estimates suggest that this is the case with up to 10% of orders. Rejecting good orders negatively impacts the bottom line, and drives away good customers.

During manual review, fraud analysts examine data associated with an order to assess how likely it is to be fraudulent. One key area of data points to consider is that of geolocation. Continue reading

How a Risk Score Saves You Time and Money

Welcome to a new installment of MaxMind’s Best Practices Blog Series!

In discussing best practices, our focus is on efficient fraud screening methods which stop fraud while providing a positive customer experience.

Key to efficient fraud screening is automating as many decisions as possible.

In this post, we discuss the crucial role of minFraud’s riskScore to automated decision making. Continue reading

MaxMind Announces Corporate Giving Program

MaxMind is pleased to announce our corporate giving program – we plan to give away over 50% of our profits to charity.

Since its inception, MaxMind has focused on creating value for our customers, especially where the ratio of value to effort is high. It is exciting how technology enables us to write code once and deploy it to thousands of customers to solve problems. For marketing, we focus on strategies that have high impact per dollar invested, including detailed, transparent information about our products on our website and our freemium model for geolocation databases.

Similarly, with charitable giving, we look for opportunities to apply research to find how our funding can have high impact per dollar invested. Sometimes the most cost-effective program can be surprising. For example, according to MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, deworming may be one of the most effective ways to increase student participation in school.

The for-profit space seems more and more crowded with great companies pursuing great ideas. There appears to be no shortage of angel and venture capital for technology startups, and competition is intense. On the other hand, the non-profit space appears a lot less crowded, as there are fewer funders pursuing innovative solutions.

We would like to thank our customers for making this possible!

To learn more about MaxMind’s charitable giving, visit our Corporate Giving page.