John Brown

How EQ8 scoring works

Our guide to understanding NS8’s flexible and robust fraud prevention.

Fraud in ecommerce can be intimidating. Many business owners understand their products, industry, and customers, but still feel overwhelmed by online fraud prevention. That’s because there are so many internet criminals and fraudsters to be wary of. As a business owner, you probably don’t want to spend too much time understanding the complexity of internet fraud on top of your other duties.

And that’s fine! At NS8, we don’t want you to worry about fraud, either – that’s our job. We’ve spent time developing a solution with the best tools and capabilities for preventing all kinds of internet fraud and even reducing the frequency of false declines. Our solution is user-friendly and requires little time to set-up, making fraud prevention easy.

The EQ8 score is central to our ability to simplify ecommerce fraud prevention. The EQ8 Score is a number between 0 and 1000 that calculates the potential risk of a website visitor. This is accomplished by watching the visitor from the time they enter your website to the time they leave.

As soon as a visitor interacts with your website, our analysis begins. When you need to make a decision, we give you a real-time score. Highly suspicious traffic is assigned a low score and good traffic is assigned a high score. Once an EQ8 Score is received, you can act on the visitor’s score risk and segment traffic accordingly.

But How Does NS8 Score Traffic?

This is slightly more complicated. There are hundreds of dynamic variables that define what data is used as the EQ8 Scoring Engine learns more about the visitor. This data is analyzed in real-time and adjusts based on each individual user. Different data sets are used to score traffic based on the country the user is located in or other known attributes, and as this data is applied, the score is instantly adjusted.

A simple example could be as follows:

A visitor’s computer tells your website that it is running Windows 10; however, the web browser they are using says it’s Apple’s Safari. Since Apple does not make Safari available for Windows 10 users, this impossible combination would be viewed as suspicious to our algorithm. While this alone does not necessarily make a session fraudulent, it would initiate further inquiries. That information would then be combined with all other scorable factors, like geolocation, behavior data, and internet address, to determine the visitors overall EQ8 Score.

Confused yet? Don’t worry, you don’t have to understand it all. We have some really smart people figuring this all out, with the added assistance of artificial intelligence tools. Let’s simplify things by looking at it from another perspective.


The EQ8 Score in Action

Let’s start with an example:

Marty runs a tavern. As a diligent barkeep, Marty pays attention to everything he can about his customers. This not only helps him better serve them by learning their favorite drinks and habits, but it also helps him identify suspicious behavior. He wants to keep out a variety of troublemakers: hooligans, thieves, underage drinkers, and robots. Especially robots.

Constantly looking for all these troublemakers while pouring pints of cold refreshing beer was a problem for Marty, so he devised some security systems. He has cameras looking at the street outside his bar and the parking lot. Using these cameras, he can see what vehicles people arrive in. He can observe if they are acting suspiciously by putting on disguises in the parking lot. He can watch what direction they came from before entering. He can take note of their vehicle or who they are meeting.

In other words, by noting the activity as a patron arrives, Marty can begin to identify risky guests as they enter his tavern.

Once a patron gets to the door, they have to get past Marty’s bouncer. The bouncer checks their identification to make sure it’s valid, but also uses this as an opportunity to gauge a customer’s behavior. If a visitor’s ID is questionable, the bouncer is prepared to ask additional questions to make sure they are who they say they are. If the person is on a watch list as a known problem from other bars, they get turned away.

Essentially, the people that the bouncer approves are allowed in the door, while the robots and troublemakers are rejected.

Regulars that Marty already trusts are not much of an issue, nor are guests who do not exhibit any suspicious behavior. Still, he keeps an eye out to make sure a pesky robot isn’t impersonating someone else. If the person is a newcomer, Marty will use all the information he’s gathered to determine how to proceed. Before handing over a cold pint, Marty is also going to check into how he’s getting paid. He’s going to make sure the payment is not counterfeit and that a payment card has funds, and can run a tab for a customer or immediately cash them out as needed.

Only when all the gathered data adds up will Marty hand over a pint. All of the above data that Marty compiled and analyzed is similar to the NS8’s EQ8 Scoring Engine.

Wait, How Is EQ8 Scoring Like Bartending?

One of the most important points to note is that Marty the Bartender did not just use a single factor to identify suspicious activity. Instead, he looked at the whole picture from the time the customer arrived up to the time they paid in order to determine how to react. Likewise, the EQ8 Score is a comprehensive score and not just a simple checklist. NS8 uses dynamic data sources to compare the entire interaction with a visitor to calculate a score.

Another important distinction is that Marty’s decisions were not based on being a startup bartender. Like Marty, NS8 is not new at fraud prevention. Our technology is built on over ten years of experience and compiled data in web analytics. Also, like Marty, our customers are not locked into a set of rules and block lists without control over the outcome. Using NS8’s tools, our customers can choose how to react to an EQ8 visitor score. This allows a system tailored to your fraud risk tolerance and customer profiles.

Perhaps the most important similarity is that the EQ8 Scoring Engine is not static. If Marty discovers that a group of troublemakers is making it past his security, he can change things up at any time by hiring a different bouncer, installing better cameras, or adding additional features. Our solution works similarly. Using machine learning and other data science techniques, our team makes sure that we stay ahead of the bad guys by constantly adjusting our scoring techniques, and customers are free to change their thresholds and other tools at any time. That flexibility allows you to operate like a brick-and-mortar business.

What Can an EQ8 Score Be Used For?

EQ8 Scoring has many applications online. Ecommerce merchants can use the EQ8 Score to fight advertising fraud, including retargeting fraud, as well as transaction fraud. A marketer could use data gathered in the scoring process to target and segment customers. A ticketing company could ensure that large brokers are not buying up all the tickets for a particular event.

The possibilities are nearly endless. It fits seamlessly into multiple industries, and data can be used to upsell, target, and market to customers while fighting fraud. Not so complicated now, is it?

About the author
John Brown

Solutions Consultant at NS8. After years in the payment industry, John now lends his expertise to NS8 clients by helping them implement effective fraud protection.

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