Email Analysis Tools Explained: Forensics, Fraud and Activity Analytics

Email Analysis Tools Explained: Forensics, Fraud and Activity Analytics

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by Tamas Kadar

Emails and email addresses can reveal a surprising amount information about your users. Let’s see what can be gleaned from that data, and how can use it as part of their business operations.

What Is An Email Analysis Tool?

An email analysis tool extracts as much data as possible from an email or email address. It helps you learn more about the sender and their intention. But there are very different reasons for using these tools. Let’s break them down below.

An Email Activity Analysis Tool

The first kind of email analysis tools are related to email analytics. Put simply, they let you measure metrics such as:

  • the number of emails sent per day
  • top senders and recipients
  • average email response time
  • and more

These are productivity tools, often deployed by companies who want to learn more about their internal messaging statistics or to measure employee efficiency.

Examples:

  • Right Inbox is used by companies such as Uber, Salesforce and Netflix to track engagement and email open rates, amongst others
  • Mailtrack allows companies to track engagement from a dashboard, specialising in tracking Gmail data

A Forensic Email Analysis Tool

Email forensic tools help analyze, aggregate and display information relating to the email address, its content, and how and when it was sent. Examples include the ability to:

  • search for keywords in multiple languages
  • manage date logs
  • standardise email content and export in different file formats
  • etc..

This is particularly useful when searching through huge databases of emails with granular detail. If you are an investigator, journalist or an IT administrator who needs to parse email data and present it in a specific way, you’ll need a good forensic email analysis tool.

Examples:

  • Aid4Mail allows you to extract email data for computer forensics and e-discovery
  • Xtraxtor is a company that specialises in pulling out specific data from emails such as addresses and phone. numbers

Anti-Fraud Email Analysis Tool

The third category or email analysis tools help you learn more about how risky a user is based on their email address. This is done by answering question such as:

  • is the email address from a free or temporary domain?
  • can you sign up to the domain without 2FA verification?
  • did the email address appear on spam blacklists
  • etc…

By feeding that information into a fraud prevention software, you can calculate risk when onboarding a new user or processing a transaction.

Examples:

  • SEON offers full email data enrichment analysis based on a single email address.
  • Emailage also focuses on enriching data from email addresses.
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Why Should we Use Email Analysis Tools for Fraud Protection?

A key component of fraud prevention Is device fingerprinting, which gathers data about hardware and software used by your website visitors. It is a fantastic tool to get an idea of how visitors access your pages.

The only downside? Device fingerprinting has been around a long time. In fact, the technology used to track browser configuration today has been around for at least a decade. To its credit, it is still a basic, yet efficient fraud-reduction measure.

Unfortunately, the world of online fraud is fast-paced, innovative, and resourceful. This means fraudsters had plenty of time to prepare, test and implement ways to bypass device fingerprinting on their own terms.

For instance, one technique we’re seeing more and more these days involves full profile packages. Sellers on questionable marketplaces offer platform login details combined with portable browser cache and cookies.

In other words: fraudsters are getting smarter. Businesses are left straddling behind in this constant game of cat and mouse. Our suggestion? Building a portfolio of fraud prevention tools that create a stronger line of defense against attacks.

And one of the most powerful and innovative tools we’ve developed in recent years is email analysis.

How and Why Email Analysis Tools Work to Reduce Fraud Rates

Email addresses provide data that is a lot more specific and unique than that from a widely-available browser or mass-produced smartphone. Click To Tweet

Gathering customer analytics based on their email address is a fresh trend (known commonly as email lookup) that is proving to be highly effective. Opening an account online is virtually impossible without an email address. Email addresses provide data that is a lot more specific and unique than browsers or mass-produced smartphone.

Moreover, innovations in data enrichment can extract more than a name and domain. Using the right tools, an email address will tell more about a user than an IP or device can. Specifically, we can see:

  • Validity. through SMTP checks, we can ping the server and see if it exists or not based on the feedback.
  • Usage. We check if the domain comes from temporary email services. If it is, the risk score increases.
  • Domain quality. Is it free? When was it created? Does it require SMS or other verification to open it? How about recent updates? Just a number of data points that can give great insights into an email address validity. For instance, gmail is free, but does require verification.
  • Address quality. Using string analysis, we compare it to the user name and get a good guess on whether the name makes sense or if its content is gibberish.
  • Stolen addresses. A simple cross check against known email data breaches can reveal a lot.
  • Blacklisted. It’s easy to see if the email address belongs to someone who has been barred from another platform.

Last but not least: we can tell if the email address is used with social media accounts. According to our own SEON Intelligence analytics for the lending industry, 76% of defaulting customers had no social media presence.

“According to our own SEON Intelligence insights, 76% of defaulting customers in the lending industry used email addresses with zero social media presence.”

This is an extremely high correlation, which fraud managers in every industry can now leverage to calculate their risk scores – and the precision increases with every other data point available.

Conclusion – Email Analysis Tools for Risk Management

Companies are still very much focused on limited methods for identifying their users. Fraudsters are therefore at an advantage, because they’re constantly on the lookout for loopholes and new innovative ways to defraud these merchants.

In short, fraud prevention must also evolve. And at the minute, an email address, which is synonymous with a global unique identifier on the internet is one of the strongest data points you can check to boost your fraud prevention results.

SEON Intelligence is specifically designed to offer a combination of features that analyze data and reduce fraud, including a powerful email analysis tool. It’s also a modular solution, which means you can add it to your existing fraud prevention method to get the final boost it needs

Still not sure if our email tool solution helps you?

Why not book a demo and see us in action

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You might also be interested in reading about:

Learn more about:

Data Enrichment | Browser Fingerprinting | Device Fingerprinting | Fraud Detection API | Fraud Detection using Machine Learning

Sources used for this article:

  • Javelin: 2017 Financial Impact of Fraud Study

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Analysis Tools

How do you analyze an email?

There are various ways to analyse email data based on your desired result. For forensics you can extract the email content. For analytics, you can look at the engagement rate. For risk management, you can see if the email address points to a risky user.

Are email analysis tools legal?

Yes, you can extract information legally and even connect it to open-source databases for investigation that meets data protection standards.

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Author avatar
Tamas Kadar
CEO

Tamas is the founder and CEO of SEON and an expert in all the technological aspects of fraud prevention.


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