Unlocking the Secrets of Email Addresses: What Merchants Can Learn and How They Deal With Them

Email address analysis in fraud detection


In today’s digital age, an email address can provide valuable insights for merchants. By analyzing the characteristics of an email address, merchants can gather information about their customers and tailor their strategies accordingly. From distinguishing between free and company emails, dealing with disposable and blacklisted email addresses, merchants can understand the nuances of different email addresses to enhance customer experiences and ensure secure transactions. Here are some key aspects that can be learned from an email address and how merchants can effectively deal with them.

Free Email Providers

Email addresses from free providers like Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail can indicate that the customer is using a personal email account. This information can be incredibly valuable for merchants as it allows them to personalize their marketing efforts and provide targeted offers based on individual preferences. By understanding the email provider, merchants can gain insights into the customer’s online behavior and interests. For example, if a customer has a Gmail address, the merchant can analyze the customer’s past interactions with Google services and tailor their marketing campaigns accordingly. Additionally, merchants can use this information to segment their customer base and create customized email campaigns that resonate with each segment.

Accepting free email addresses is virtually unavoidable if you are in the B2C (Business-to-Consumer) business. However, for B2B (Business-to-Business) enterprises, the landscape is different. In the realm of B2B, the use of free email addresses might not align with the professional image and you may not want to accept free email addresses at all. For this reason, some websites will mandate the use of company email instead of a free email. However, to strike a balance between inclusivity and prudence, some businesses may take a more cautious yet relaxed approach by implementing additional verification measures to authenticate prospective clients using free email addresses before engaging in business.

Adding Free Email Validation

To accomplish this, you can create a fraud validation rule that flags transactions for review if they originate from a free email address. By doing this, you can conduct a more in-depth review of the customer’s profile instead of immediately rejecting the transaction and potentially missing out on a business opportunity. The following is an example of a fraud validation rule that marks transactions for review if they come from a free email address.

Free Email Validation

For your information, apart from the popular free email providers such as Google, Yahoo, Outlook, and others, there are more than 5,000 free email service providers available in the market. To explore this further, you can utilize the free email validation tool.

Company or Non-Free Email Addresses

When customers use their work email addresses to make purchases, it suggests that they are buying on behalf of their organization. This valuable insight enables merchants to offer corporate discounts, bulk purchase options, or dedicated account management services to enhance the customer experience. By recognizing that the customer is part of a company, merchants can tailor their marketing strategies to align with the needs and preferences of businesses. For example, they can create exclusive offers for corporate customers or provide specialized customer support for their organization. By leveraging the information provided by company email addresses, merchants can strengthen their relationships with business customers and increase customer loyalty.

Company email and non-free email may appear similar, but they have distinct characteristics. Non-free email services have gained popularity due to the affordability of owning a domain, allowing individuals and businesses to have personalized email addresses without company affiliations. Hence, merchants should be cautious when dealing with customers using these email addresses. One effective method to verify customer authenticity is to check the domain age, regardless of whether it’s from a legitimate company email or a self-owned domain email. By assessing how long a domain has been active, merchants can determine the legitimacy of the associated email address. Older domains are more likely to be associated with established entities or individuals, providing an additional layer of validation in transactions. This practice helps to ensure customer credibility and reduces the risk of fraudulent activities in online transactions.

Checking New Email Domain

In FraudLabs Pro, you can find domain information on the transaction details page, specifically under the “Validation Information” section. While there won’t be a specific domain age value, you will find a classification indicating whether the domain is categorized as “new” or “old” domain in the “New Domain Name” field. For domains with a registration date of 60 days or less, they will be classified as new domains.

Email Validation Information in Transaction Details page

Adding Email Domain Age Validation

Furthermore, you have the option to create a custom check by implementing email domain age validation. This feature enables you to set a threshold for domain age and temporarily suspend transactions for additional review if the domain age is below the specified threshold. The example screenshot below demonstrates how a transaction is put on hold when the domain age is less than 6 months.

Email Domain Age Validation

Disposable Email Addresses

Disposable email addresses are temporary email accounts that users create for specific purposes, such as signing up for newsletters or accessing limited-time promotions or trials. Merchants should be cautious when dealing with customers who use disposable email addresses, as it may indicate a lack of long-term engagement or commitment.

Adding Disposable Email Validation

Due to the temporary nature of these email accounts, there’s a high probability of a fraudulent order. To mitigate these risks, merchants may consider rejecting orders associated with disposable email addresses to ensure a more secure and efficient transaction process. You can create a validation rule as below to reject the order from the disposable email address.

Disposable Email Validation

Unlike the free email detection, you can easily spot several well-known free email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook, disposable has a vast number of over 150,000 service providers (based on our records), and none of them have a prominent standout. It can be a challenging task to keep track of all of them, especially since the list keeps changing over time. To simplify this process, use the above validation rule to help you with the detection. Moreover, you can try the free disposable email validation tool to determine if an email is a disposable email type.

Blacklisted Email Addresses

If an email address is flagged as blacklisted, it could indicate potential fraud or abuse. Merchants should be aware of this and have robust fraud prevention measures in place to protect themselves from fraudulent activities. The blacklisted email addresses mentioned here refer to those that have been flagged by other merchants and reported to the FraudLabs Pro Global Merchant Network.

The Global Merchant Network serves as a global channel that connects all our merchants, enabling them to share blacklisted information and help each other in the fight against fraud. This means that if a fraudulent email address is discovered by one merchant, it can instantly be used to prevent a similar occurrence for other merchants. It is a proactive and effective method to minimize fraud cases. In certain instances, determining the legitimacy of a customer based solely on the email address can be challenging. However, by utilizing the crowd-sourced data from the Global Merchant Network, you can enhance your ability to safeguard against potential risks.

Use Blacklist Validation Settings

You could enable the option, in the Settings page under Advanced Option, to benefit from the global data in fraud fighting.

Blacklist Validation under Advanced Option

Adding Blacklisted Email Validation

After that, you can create a blacklist rule to either flag the transaction for review or reject it immediately. Below is the validation rule for rejecting transactions with blacklisted email addresses.

Blacklisted Email Address Validation

Invalid Email Address Validation

You could check the validity of an email address and ensure that it actually exists and is deliverable. This process involves communicating with the targeted email server to confirm the authenticity of the email address. It is important to be aware that implementing this validation method may result in a slower response time for fraud detection.

Since the verification requires interactions with external servers, it can introduce a delay in the overall transaction processing. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully consider the trade-off between response time and the desired level of fraud detection when deciding whether to incorporate this validation method into your profile. While it can provide an additional layer of security by confirming the legitimacy of email addresses, it is essential to weigh the potential impact on transaction speed and overall user experience. By striking the right balance, you can effectively prevent fraudulent activities while maintaining efficient and seamless transaction processes.

Adding Invalid Email Address Validation

You can enable the invalid email address validation by creating a rule as below.

Invalid Email Address Validation


By understanding the information that can be derived from an email address and implementing appropriate strategies, merchants can optimize their marketing efforts, enhance customer satisfaction, and mitigate potential risks. By leveraging email address insights effectively, merchants can build stronger relationships with their customers, prevent fraud, drive sustainable business growth, and stay ahead in today’s competitive marketplace.

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