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Reverse Lookups Phone/Address/Email


The reverse lookup is used to cross check the name, address and phone information a consumer has provided to you with a third-party resource to verify that the public or private data records show the same consumer’s name is associated with the provided address and phone information. These services are available as a hosted bureau service or you can purchase monthly, quarterly or annual database access or software distribution of data.

Key considerations when implementing or buying this functionality include:

  • How often will your provider update the information or update their software?

  • Is both an API and user interface or manual lookup version of the service offered?

  • What data points are supported? Address, Name, Phone, Email?

  • Are there any dead spots where information is not provided such as international, Canada, Puerto Rico?

  • Does the vendor have any regional strengths or do they have better coverage with phone versus address versus email?

  • What is the accuracy of the data they have? Try them out: Have ten people’s information from around the country and see how well the service validates the information. Include someone who has been in place for a while, one that has recently moved and one that owns multiple properties.


If using it as a manual tool, you would enter the individual’s information into a hosted screen or utility their IT shop has set up for you, and the service or application would come back with some mix of the following types of results:

I input the address and phone and it gave me the name of the person associated with each piece.

I input the phone number only and it gives the address and name associated with it.

I input an address and it gives me the phone and name associated with it.


You verify this data and see if it matches. A lookup service or graphic user interface (GUI) is designed for fraud analysts or manual review agents who are validating a transaction and user identity. API services are designed to provide results that can be used within a broader context of risk signals to make rules-based and modeling systems more effective in identifying high risk.

Identity authentication is very effective, and can provide the most relevant information to a user's identity. It should be understood that Identity Authentication alone can easily be beaten by a fraudster, and performing authentication without verification leaves you susceptible to fraudsters using stolen identities. Authentication refers to looking up whether provided identity data points are actually associated with one another. Verification refers to actually contacting a person based via the identity points provided. Authentication must be done first for verification to be effective. Authentication without verification is still useful, but in cases of full identity theft you could be dealing with a fraudster who provides the matching phone number and hopes that you don't verify their ownership of it.


Reverse Look-ups cross check the name, address and/or phone information provided by a customer against third-party resources to verify the association of these data points.

"Gotchas” with reverse look-ups include:

There are a lot of ways to fool this test

There are people who move a lot, such as military families, in which multiple phone numbers and address may be in the public records

There are lag periods between refreshes of the address and phone data

In cases of identity theft, a fraudster can set up these services to look completely legitimate

Typically cannot validate unlisted phone numbers

More and more people are listing cell phone numbers and business phone numbers

If you use it to check the shipping address, there are valid cases in which a consumer could be sending packages or gifts to a relative’s home to pick up later


Ekata, a MasterCard Company, empowers businesses to enable frictionless experiences and combat fraud worldwide. Address Risk API enables businesses to evaluate the risk of any global address. It delivers predictive signals derived from the Ekata Identity Engine (including activity data and metadata) as well as a comprehensive Address Risk Score. The Address Risk API adds a layer of automated address validation that enables businesses to catch fraud earlier in the transaction process, minimize operational costs, and optimize customer workflows.


Alternative SolutionsFraud-scoring solution that includes this capability, delivery address verification service that provides associated phone data with an address. Do IP geolocation validation to compare to the zip code or area code.

Building this In-House - Not practical for a merchant to try and build their own identity database. There are free lookup sites but the data is typically stale.

Estimated Cost - Typically this service is offered on a per-transaction basis, but you can also purchase it as a subscription. There are some very low cost providers online, that have hosted screens for you to input data manually as well. This service is usually fairly inexpensive.

Sample Vendors - Ekata, Pipl, Neustar, ArkOwl, Trulioo

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