3 Stats To Convince You Email Addresses Are The Ultimate Fraud Indicator


Much has been said  about the death of the email. Don’t believe us? Google “death of email” and feast your eyes on 1.7 million results returned for the phrase. And yet, for all the eulogies, email is far from its death knell.

In this article, we’ll outline three compelling reasons why email is close to immortal, and why the email address is a data point that needs to be at the nucleus of your fraud detection and deterrence strategies.

Email Statistic #1: 4 Billion Reasons and Counting

According to Statista, at the close of 2019 there were 3.9 billion email addresses globally. This is a number that’s growing – and projected to grow to as much as 4.4 billion by 2024 – despite the profusion of messaging apps and platforms.

Key Takeaways: 

Bottomline: Love it or hate it, email is the foundational part of our digital lives. It’s the global passport used for everything from communication and ecommerce to access and authentication. Whether it’s used for good or for ill, email is the channel we keep choosing.

Email Statistic #2: Most Email Addresses Have Tenure

Users are pretty committed to their email addresses. More than 90 percent of email addresses are at least three years old, and more than 50 percent are older than ten years.

Key Takeaways:

Bottomline: We stand by our email addresses. And when it comes to fraud risk, email addresses age well. When it comes to cultural relevance, if your handle is from two-thousand-and-eight, it might sound two-thousand-and-late. Yes, that’s a Black Eyed Peas song reference from the aughts. 

I'm so 2008 you're so 2008 and late

Email Statistic #3: One Email Address. Many Account Logins.

Answer this: how many times today have you used your email address as a username to access an online account? 

We’d be very willing to bet it’s more than once. In fact we’ll raise our wager and say it’s likely to be more than ten. Why are we so confident? Because the average email address is attached to 130 accounts online.

Key Takeaways:

  • With so many accounts mapped to a single address, a highly predictive pattern of online behavior emerges fraud professionals can use to either deter fraud, or accept transactions seamlessly.
  • The average person has 70-80 passwords, mapped against the average of 130 accounts and there’s a real password reuse problem for fraudsters to exploit.
  • With just an email address, a fraudster can open accounts, take over accounts or start building a synthetic ID.

Bottomline: We are prolific in our use of email as an access tool across the web. Increasingly digital business is expanding that use, creating more links to addresses and more opportunity for fraud to occur. Considering business email alone, it’s cost $26 billion since 2016.

Why Email For Fraud Detection?

The email address. There’s no other identifier we use as often for as many reasons. Addresses can change with no forwarding location, phone numbers ring to a, “Sorry. Wrong number, dude.” But email addresses are an important note on the network of our digital selves. No other single data point can lead as reliably to important risk indicators like device usage and a history of transaction behavior.

Email. Not dead. Not dying. It’s alive and well and ideal for outsmarting fraud.

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