Authentication in E-commerce: Proving Sally Isnt Sam

When I hear people say that shopping is
fun, it blows my mind. I really consider getting a tooth pulled to be a more
worthwhile event. Going to the store for a purchase often equals long lines and
headaches. Thank goodness for the Internet! It has created a more efficient,
less time consuming way of commerce, but it does bring with it a new terror. At
a time when there is an estimated 10,000 identity theft rings in the U.S. alone,
lack of authentication in ecommerce is more than a little alarming.

So what is the real solution?
Obviously, no one wants to verify their full nine-digit social security number
when purchasing a new flat screen, but I believe that most individuals would
welcome some added security with their purchases. To understand the complexity
of the problem, we have to recognize that there is a big difference between
verifying an individuals information and authenticating it. A company may be
able to match the name and billing address of an individual with a credit card.
This would mean that information has been verified, but how do I know that John
Doe is really John Doe?

Some e-commerce companies have taken
steps to remedy this problem by only shipping to the billing address of the credit
card. While this is a good practice, it is not a viable, long-term answer. In
some cases of credit card theft, the perpetrators have actually shipped
packages to the correct billing address of the individual and intercepted the
package from their porch. The real key in combating ecommerce fraud is having proper
authentication systems in
place at the point of sale.

Many online retailers are
recognizing the need for this protection for their customers and themselves. In
response they are implementing methods, such as
Knowledge Based Authentication to truly authenticate their consumers. This offers peace of
mind to the individual and prevents significant loss to the company. The real
question is when are more
ecommerce shopping carts
going to follow suite and show that they are serious about fraud
prevention? When that day comes it will
be a positive and welcomed change to merchants and customers alike.

[Contributed by Shea Allen, Account Specialist]

Explore more articles