Huawei Ban, U.S. Sanctions – What this Means for American Ecommerce

Melissa Team | Digital Identity Verification, Ecommerce, eIDV, EIV, Global ID Verification, Personator, Personator World | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Trump Administration has brought U.S. economic sanctions back into the public spotlight. Since placing Huawei, the world’s second largest smartphone maker, on the U.S. entity list, the Trump Administration has threatened more economic sanctions to countries and organizations throughout the world. The White House continues to tighten sanctions on Iran, threatens Turkey and warns European organization, Instex, with new sanctions.

With a growing ecommerce market and a tightening of U.S. sanctions, it is becoming more important than ever to be vigilant about electronic identity verification of customers and entities with which Americans do business.

Consequence of Noncompliance

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is responsible for enforcing economic sanctions for the U.S. OFAC describes fines for violations of sanctions as “substantial” and commonly exceeding several million dollars. OFAC sanctions are primarily against individuals, groups of individuals, and countries who pose a threat to U.S. foreign policy and national security. According to OFAC:

“U.S. persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all persons and entities within the United States, all U.S. incorporated entities and their foreign branches. In the cases of certain programs, foreign subsidiaries owned or controlled by U.S. companies also must comply. Certain programs also require foreign persons in possession of U.S.-origin goods to comply.”

Bloomberg acquired a letter written by Sigal Mandelker, the U.S. Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. In regards to Europe’s attempts to circumvent the U.S. sanctions on Iran, Mandelker writes, “engaging in activities that run afoul of U.S. sanctions can result in severe consequences, including a loss of access to the [U.S.] financial system.”

Threats Grow World Over

Iran suffers from the tightening grip of U.S. sanctions, yet seems unlikely to budge on nuclear negotiations – meaning sanctions could continue to tighten. Recently there have also been threats to impose sanctions on NATO ally, Turkey, for acquiring weapons technologies from Russia.

Instex (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) is a European transactional channel created by Germany, the U.K. and France to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran. Their intent is to salvage a nuclear deal with Iran after the U.S. had pulled out of the nuclear deal last year. The Treasury Department now warns all persons, businesses and government officials who are involved with Instex that “entities that transact in trade with the Iranian regime through any means may expose themselves to considerable sanctions risk.”

Despite these threats, one ban is already certain – Huawei is now one of those businesses placed on the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) entity list. No U.S. company may do business with Huawei and will otherwise face hefty prosecution, fines and possibly more severe consequences.

Are my Customers Who They Say They Are?

Ecommerce businesses can avoid crippling fines and legal battles with the U.S., by running customers through an electronic identity verification (eIDV) process. Using eIDV (or digital identity verification) will not only ensure protection against fraudulent ecommerce activities, but eIDV tools can also run your clients through a watchlist screening. Depending on the tool, this can ensure that your company is still in compliance with federal mandates, sanctions lists and more.

Personator® does it all. It will screen and electronically verify the identities of your customers and ensure you are in compliance with updated U.S. sanction lists including OFAC, BIS, Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), and more. Using Personator leaves companies at lesser risk of violating federal law as new and tightening sanctions continue to emerge.

Review the full watchlist of what Personator screens for and why Melissa is the most reliable organization to protect your business in these changing times. Request a demonstration today!

OFAC and KYC Loom Large for Financial Institutions

Melissa Team | Digital Identity Verification, eIDV, FinTech, Global ID Verification, Personator, Personator World | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 In the alphabet soup of government agencies, OFAC looms large for financial institutions.

Sometimes considered one of “the most powerful yet unknown” government agencies, the Office of Foreign Assets Control—a part of the Treasury Department—enforces economic and trade sanctions in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy.

Simply put, many bad actors attempt to realize their plans via financial means, including fraud, theft, banned commercial trading, or the funding of terrorism. Banks that fail to adequately screen their customers can face huge penalties.

In addition to national security, many countries including the U.S. have established Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) requirements to head off fraudulent transactions. A key way for banks to do this is to clearly identify their legitimate banking clients and business relationships so the bad operators become more obvious and identifiable.

Paying the OFAC Penalty

Not doing so adequately can be costly.

In 2014, OFAC imposed penalties amounting to $963 million (as part of a $8.9 billion total settlement) against the French banking group BNP Paribas for actively obscuring the identities of OFAC-targeted parties and their financial transactions within the U.S.

BNP Paribas was guilty of more than just violating an obscure U.S. banking policy. The court found that some of the monies transferred illegally were used to fund terrorist bombings. In the world we live in today, it has never been more important for financial institutions to “know your customer,” a process with immense moral as well as financial consequences.

Helpfully, OFAC has published extensive lists of sanctioned countries, regimes, terrorists, narcotics traffickers, and others who pose threats to our national security and economy—and threats as well to the risk exposure of banks.

OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons list, SDN for short, provides a searchable online database of such persons. Alternately, you can access an immense list, either in PDF or Text format, of every designated SDN in the world, screened by country.

I said initially that the OFAC list is helpful, but in a real world I don’t think it really is. Most egregiously, it’s not automated. The search process is name-by-name requiring you to fill in numerous fields.

Moreover, any list goes stale quickly. OFAC updates its SDN list regularly, but sometimes days go by with no changes.

A more advanced OFAC tool is its Sanctions List Search tool, which employs “fuzzy logic” for name searches. This is intended to parse people with aliases, or match spelling and transcription variations against sanctioned individuals.

A score of 100 means a perfect match, but in reality there’s no such thing as perfection. Where does a bank set its red-flag alerts? At 50? At 25? Again, bankers need a finer, more granular tool.

Other OFAC sanctions lists include one of foreigners who have aided other sanctioned entities in the past, and a list to identify shady operators within the Russian economy. No doubt the recent indictments against Russian political email hackers will be part of an updated list here, if they haven’t been added already.

While the various OFAC lists are helpful and as current as humanly possible, many of them overlap, some decay more frequently, and others are updated less regularly than others.

Bankers should spend their time providing banking services, not continually updating watchlists. Especially when a bank crosses country borders, the number of lists and items to account for can grow extremely rapidly.

The Melissa Solution

Just as the digital world has enabled bad players and victimized banks worldwide, technology is fighting back with sophisticated Know Your Customer tools.

Melissa’s identity verification service allows corporations to the authenticity and credentials of new or existing customers and transactions.

The first step of our service validates and corrects the individual contact pieces. We can correct and standardize incoming address, names, phone numbers, and emails so that we are comparing apples to apples.

The next level is the matching of contact pieces, like confirming the name, address, and national ID are consistent and valid. This allows our clients to gain a degree of confidence against fraud and mistakes.

Additionally, watchlists (including OFAC) are deeply integrated and continually updated to allow you to check against authoratitive sources of known fraudulent as well as suspicious individuals and corporations. Currently, Melissa has over 20 U.S. and international sanctions and watchlists available and it is growing constantly. You can view the up-to-date list here.

The bottom line is this:

Financial services institutions are increasingly under the OFAC gun for making sure they deal only with customers and institutions that comply with U.S. national security regulations. Melissa’s fintech technology helps you stay on top of your AML and KYC initiatives by identifying legitimate customers and flagging suspicious data, all in real time.

Know Your Customer with Personator World – Cloud-Based Identity Resolution and Verification Engine

Blog Administrator | Data Audit, Data Cleansing, Data Enhancement, Data Enrichment, Data Management, Data Quality, Data Quality Assessment, Global Data Quality, Personator World | , , , , ,

By Kevin Ubay-Ubay, Sales Engineer


Personator World is Melissa’s new powerful cloud based
web service that gives a simple and single way to clean and verify your contact
data globally. This service leverages our experience in name, phone, address
& email validation to provide comprehensive contact checking and combines
high quality identity level verification.

Some examples of where our new web service can be
applied:

·        
Age verification

·        
Name-address verification

·        
Anti-fraud applications

·        
Online shopping cart & eCommerce
platforms

·        
FinTech/Banking

Trusted
Reference Data

Personator World uses a number of trusted reference
data to verify the identity of an individual. These types of data sources
include:

·        
Citizen/national databases

·        
Credit agency/bureau

·        
Utility and telecom sources

·        
Driver’s licenses

·        
Electoral rolls

Personator World can then determine if the identity
has been found and matched against those datasources. An example JSON response
from the web service may contain something like this:

{

    “DatasourceName”:
“CREDIT-2”,

    “Results”:
“KV03,KV04”,

    “Messages”: [

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV03”,

            “Description”: “First/given/forename
matched”

        },

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV04”,

            “Description”:
“Last/surname matched”

        }

    ]

},

{

    “DatasourceName”:
“CONSUMER-1”,

    “Results”:
“KV01,KV14,KV13,KV12,KV10”,

    “Messages”: [

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV01”,

            “Description”:
“Address matched”

        },

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV14”,

            “Description”:
“Premise/house number matched”

        },

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV13”,

            “Description”:
“Thoroughfare matched”

        },

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV12”,

            “Description”:
“Locality matched”

        },

        {

            “ResultCode”:
“KV10”,

            “Description”:
“Postal code matched”

        }

    ]

}

As you can see here, datasources where a match has
been found are listed as well as what components of the input had been matched.

Using
Personator World

To give a walkthrough of this service, when you send
your contact data that you want checked and verified, Personator World starts
off by standardizing and validating your data. At this stage, the service will
parse and standardize your data as well as check for the following:

·        
Name is in a valid format

·        
Address is deliverable

·        
Email address exists

·        
Phone number is callable

Input

Output

Full
name: John doe

Phone:
8458692102

Email:
john.doe@yaoo.com

Address
Line 1: 1 unicorn

City:
norwich

Administrative
Area:

Postal
Code: NR33AB

Country:
GB

Full
name: John Doe

Phone:
+44 8458692102

Email:
john.doe@yahoo.com

Address
line 1: 1 Unicorn Rd

City:
Norwich

Administrative
Area: Norfolk

Postal
Code: NR3 3AB

Country:
GB

 

In the diagram above, you can see the service
standardizing (changing casings, abbreviations, etc.) and making corrections to
our input data – add in missing street suffixes, add in phone country dialing
code, add in missing state/province/administrative area info, correcting
typographical email domain errors (yaoo.com -> yahoo.com), etc.

Next, Personator World takes your data and compares it
against trusted reference data in order to verify that individual’s
information.

In this verification stage, the web service takes the
standardized name, phone, email and address from the previous checking stage
and performs ID verification. Additional input such as the individuals national
ID provisioned by the country’s government and date of birth can be verified as
well, depending on the country.

 

Input

Output

Full
name: John Doe

National
ID: HJDO840230HVZRRL05

Date
of birth: 2/30/1984

Phone:
+56-222-226-8000

Email:
john.doe@yahoo.com

Address
Line 1: Paseo De Los Conquistadores 2000

City:
Guadalupe

Administrative
Area: NL

Postal
Code: 67170

Country:
MX

Results:

 

·        
KV01 – Address matched

·        
KV02 – National ID matched

·        
KV03 – First name matched

·        
KV04 – Last name matched

·        
KV05 – Phone number matched

·        
KV06 – Email matched

·        
KV07 – Date of birth matched

 

 

 

The diagram above shows how the service will return
back result codes indicating which pieces of information got matched. By
observing what kinds of result codes are returned, you can determine how
reliable your data is.

Availability

Personator World is currently available as a web
service hosted on our servers – meaning you won’t have to worry about updates
and maintenance. Information about the countries supported and the level of
coverage can be found by visiting our online wiki at wiki.melissadata.com.
Sample code and documentation is also provided to help you get jump started on
building applications and services incorporating our ID verification
technology.

 

Verify National ID like SSN with Personator

Blog Administrator | Address Verification, Analyzing Data, Data Cleansing, Data Enhancement, Data Enrichment, Email Verification, Global Address Verification, Global ID Verification, Global Phone Verification, Personator | , , , , , , , ,

by Michael Johnson, Sales
Engineer

Personator has never yielded the crown of contact
verification, and that is no accident.
Personator is the quintessential contact verification service.  Nowhere else can you find a fast, no
maintenance, easy-to-use web service that will give you a level of certainty
your data is not only good, but that it is correct.  One of our newest features in our flagship
service to be released is Personators SSN Verify.

Personator SSN Verify adds an integral feature of
contact verification to Personator that had not existed before: the ability to
verify that an individuals’ SSN belongs to them.  Personator now has the ability to take in a
social security number and full name and tell you whether or not they match.  We chose not to stop there, but we give you
the power to dictate how much of your SSN and name to verify.  Do you want to know if your last name was
correct to the SSN? 

What about the correct full name to last 4 SSN?  Our newest option, SSNCascade, allows you to
determine whether or not we attempt to drill down and verify multiple segments
of your social security number and name combination.

·
Full Name and Social Security

·
Last Name and Social Security

·
Full Name Last 4 Social Security

·
Last Name Last 4 Social Security

We don’t just stop at verifying the social security
number and name; we crank up the volume to 11.
If the SSN and Name are verified as a match, we allow you to have the
option to append information regarding that person.  We are able to append the address, phone,
email, demographic data, and census data all regarding the matched individual.

Personator is our flagship product which leads the
industry of contact verification. You will be hard pressed to find another
single product with so much potential.
We continually add new features and sources to our arsenal, which not
only gives the end user more options but will give them more confidence that
their data is correct.