Device Fingerprinting as an Anti-Fraud Technology


No two computers or smartphones are the same after they leave the box, especially given the way they are used. The unique combination of the traces the device leaves for its remote counteragents is called a device fingerprint. Anti-fraud application of the device fingerprinting technology is among the main reasons to pay attention to it. Analyzing these fingerprints the right way can save you a lot of trouble.

Device Fingerprinting as an Anti-Fraud Technology
Device Fingerprinting as an Anti-Fraud Technology

While there is little to be concluded from a single purchase data, comparing the device fingerprints with similar ones and checking it on large databases can help you in an unexpected way. All you need to do is integrate a service that enables this functionality.

Device Fingerprint-Based Fraud Detection

Well, imagine a person making a purchase from their smartphone. What happens? The smartphone has a certain model name and index, revealing the region it’s made for and sold in. There is a certain OS version on it – either an old or a new one, and, in addition, it can be official or custom. The buyer can use a web version of the store or a dedicated app, both for browsing the store and for making the payment. It can be Google/Apple Pay or the application of the bank, and the payment can be made from various sources. Finally, the app (either a browser or a dedicated app) reveals the user’s location and local time zone. It can be enhanced with the Internet connection data (IP address), browser cookies if any, and so on.

While there’s nothing illegal in using a different device for shopping at the same store (maybe the customer has just bought a new smartphone or moved to another country!), it can also mean the identity has been stolen. That’s why an unusual device fingerprint can be compared to other data and considered as a reason to decline the transaction. What’s even more suspicious is using various card numbers and identities from the same (or similar) devices, leaving similar fingerprints.

Of course, fraudsters are usually smarter than that, using virtual machines, VPN services, different browsers, incognito mode, cookie removers, and other features. But can they fully imitate the fingerprint of the device mostly used by the true owner of the card? That’s where fingerprinting can be the solution.

Device Fingerprints in Addressing Customers

Yet another way of using device fingerprints is addressing users in unusual ways, making conclusions through the data their devices share. Does the customer always get the device updated in time? Well, they must be tech-savvy, if not geeks, so they might be interested in new advanced devices and solutions. Neglect that? Well, this sort of customer may need special care packs. Travel often? Offer them something that can be used while away from home. Mostly sit at home? Bring them ads about home equipment or home-based hobbies and entertainment. These are but a few examples of how device fingerprints can impact the advertisement.

Did You Know? Now You Know

Well, though your device may have no fingers of its own, it definitely does have its fingerprints. Knowing this, you can use it to avoid fraud if you are a merchant or prove your real identity if you are a customer whose identity someone tries to steal and misuse. Share this on Facebook or Twitter to keep your friends informed. Or leave a comment here to share a story or some knowledge of your own.

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