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When MDM consolidation is too successful

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GDPR compliance should mean revisiting--and cleansing--your data files

Want to know the main reason you're liable to run afoul of the new European Union General Data Protection Regulation? Because your Master Data Management view of data across applications and analytics may have been just a little too successful.


Companies that have been extra diligent in that good old "360-degree view of the customer" have a master file chock-full of customer information, all of which is consolidated, but much of which is out of date and duplicated across systems.


And that means your MDM processes are probably filled with rule-busting red flags, courtesy of the new GDPR regulations.


Let's unpack this a bit, examine the key regulatory changes, and see where you're probably at risk.


The EU's GDPR, which becomes effective May 25, addresses consumer concerns about safeguarding digital information, regardless of where in the world it's stored, and erasing it when requested. If you've ever done business with people in any EU country, their information is in your CRM system, marketing automation, or master customer information file.




What data are we talking about here? Just about anything, which pretty much summarizes your potential problem.


Newly protected data not only includes name, address, email, and phone, but also photos, bank details, social networking posts, and individual computer IP addresses. CRM and marketing automation systems normally include birthdays, payment methods, URL visits, and shopping habits, regardless of whether the information is about a person's private, professional, or public life, and those are GDPR-protected as well.


Running afoul of the GDPR is no small matter. It can result in fines of up to 20 million euros--roughly $24.5 million--or alternately 4 percent of a company's entire annual global revenue.


On the upside, the Euro folks are more serious than ever about their citizens' data and privacy.


On the downside, trying to identify your organization's relevant exposure can become an intolerable burden.


While the complete GDPR is extensive, a key element is Article 17, detailing consumers' "Right to Erasure." GDPR requires you to erase any EU citizen information upon request "without undue delay," and with only a handful of exceptions.


Surveys indicate that this Right to Erasure is the most challenging requirement for businesses. And this is where your Master Data Management projects are most vulnerable.


The problem is that data management processes that supposedly have merged siloed files across applications are geared toward inclusion, not efficiency.


It's likely you've got tons of duplications--numerous iterations of the same person, each containing slightly different fields, conflicting data, and even errors from one entry to another. Small wonder: Data entries are made individually over years and via different processes.


Even if entries are flagged, typical MDM false negative results mean truly duplicated records will remain behind, and uncorrected. After all, nobody wants to run the risk of erasing a unique and valid contact.




Consider: You receive a request to have an individual's data erased, you think you've  complied, but in reality have overlooked iterations across applications that are of the exact same contact.


The result: A regulatory nightmare and a potential financial disaster.


What's a chief data officer to do?


First, start with an internal audit conducted by Melissa, one that goes far beyond any Privacy Impact Assessment process you may already have in place. A thorough top-down approach will uncover problems and trends, determine your true risk, and provide recommendations for redress.


But you'll want to go further.


Melissa technology tackles databases to standardize, correct, complete, and verify customer records. If there are any remaining identify questions about who's who in your database, and if any duplications continue to exist, Melissa employs matching engines to resolve them.


You've done your best to assure that 360-degree view of the customer through optimal MDM processes, and congratulations to you. Now, take the next step to protect your company from regulatory snafus.


To ensure you're compliant with the new GDPR regulations, call Melissa.


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



Full name: John doe

Phone: 8458692102


Address Line 1: 1 unicorn

City: norwich

Administrative Area:

Postal Code: NR33AB

Country: GB

Full name: John Doe

Phone: +44 8458692102


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 ( ->, 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.




Full name: John Doe

National ID: HJDO840230HVZRRL05

Date of birth: 2/30/1984

Phone: +56-222-226-8000


Address Line 1: Paseo De Los Conquistadores 2000

City: Guadalupe

Administrative Area: NL

Postal Code: 67170

Country: MX



·         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.


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 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

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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.


Previously, Melissa has offered our Global Address web service in Contact Zone and Pentaho as a tool used to validate addresses in 240+ countries and territories. Because this product was only available as a web service in Contact Zone and Pentaho, there were certain limitations that had come with this method of consuming this service. These issues are now solved through the use of our on premise object.

Now, companies that could not have any data leave their premises can utilize our Global Address on premise object to validate their international addresses, as no data will be sent to our servers. In addition, if throughput is a large issue with our Global Address web service, then the on premise object can vastly improve record throughput, as the limitations would now be determined by the performance of the machine that the tool is being used on. Companies that also utilize our tool for a vast number of records or tend to run address records through our service repeatedly can now utilize our tool without being mindful of the record volume, as usage for our on premise object is not based upon record volume.


Processing through the web service is still available in this new release. Licenses will be determined by an on country basis. In other words, clients can purchase the countries that they think will be used most often and defer to our web service for the remaining countries.

If you are interested in more information regarding our new release in Contact Zone and Pentaho or would like a free trial, please visit our website here:

Introducing Business Coder for United Kingdom

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Melissa is happy to announce the release of our Business Coder service for UK, where you can verify, validate, and append firmographics for businesses in the UK. Originally servicing only the US, our webservice now expands to the UK as one of our more popular demands for business identification.

Our Business Coder UK webservice can help provide address cleansing and verification, along with business verification and appending of firmographic data. Our SIC Codes and Descriptions can help identify industries that the targeted businesses belong to, along with incorporation dates to help verify the correct businesses.

Similar to Business Coder US, our familiar result codes can help determine any issues with address or business validation. Ensure that the data returned along with our results help verify correct businesses in your data.

Powered by our Global Address engine, our address validation system thoroughly covers streets across the United Kingdom. With quality data ensured by experts and reliable sources such as the Royal Mail, be sure that you standardize and correct any addresses for your list of businesses to ensure that your deliveries do not go to waste.

And don't forget, this is only an announcement for our initial release. We're constantly striving to improve our webservice, as we plan to add additional fields and features to Business Coder UK. Check out our wiki and be on the lookout for new updates for the webservice!

Please note that for our release, Business Coder US and Business Coder UK will have separate URLs to make web service requests to. Additionally, Business Coder UK requires a separate subscription from Business Coder US. Please visit our wiki for more information on how to what to expect out of the new Business Coder.

Business Coder UK wiki:


By Oscar Li, Data Quality Sales Engineer/Channel Manager for Global Email

Melissa recently introduced several improvements and new features to its Global Email Verification Solution - an all-in-one real-time email mailbox validation and correction service. Here's a quick list of our latest improvements:

  • Improved fuzzy matching of domain corrections
  • Updated our TLD database with the newest ICANN info
  • Increased control over the freshness of data returned
  • Better unknown status detection capability

In terms of the service's new features, Global Email now offers two validation modes: Express and Premium.


Express can be used in time-sensitive situations and will give back a response in one or two seconds. Premium will actually perform a real-time validation of the email address and can take up to 12 seconds to receive a response back.

If you want to reduce the time taken in premium mode, we offer an advanced email option which will reduce the freshness of the data return in order to increase speed.

Using the Global Email Verification Solution to Protect & Increase Your Email Reputation Score

What does email reputation mean? A big part of a marketer's campaign is email marketing campaigns. It is important to watch your email reputation with a tool such as senderscore. Once you are blacklisted, your email deliverability will suffer, and as a result, you will have trouble sending out emails in the future as most mail servers subscribe to a spammers list.


Integrators should consult with our data quality experts in order to understand what they need to look out for to avoid a bad campaign, and why certain emails should be flagged/inspected. Even if you avoid spam traps, sending out too many invalid emails will cause the mail server to flag you as a potential spammer. Email marketing campaign servers with a low email reputation score will typically experience aggressive filtering.

On the other hand, maintaining a high reputation score will see less intrusive filtering only applied to individual emails and email campaigns instead of blanket IP addresses. It would be definitely prudent to not allow other users to influence your email reputation.

For example, if you are on a shared server - other companies/users could be sending out their own campaigns without filtering emails through our service. It would be a waste if you spent all the time and investment controlling your email campaigns and another user is email blasting without mailbox validation causing the entire IP to be affected.

How do I improve my email reputation score?

If your reputation scores are already dismal for your current existing email campaign server IPs, it might be beneficial to do email campaigns on a new or more reputable IP to see better return on investment. This would start your email reputation on a clean slate. As a disclaimer, we are not sure how feasible this would be for everybody, but your team will need to discuss internally.

However, using our service on existing IP should raise the reputation score for that specific IP. On IPs with pre-existing high volume campaign history, the scores will be slow to change. You can now see why it is extremely prudent to invest in an email validation system early on and why Global Email is a valuable tool to utilize.

For more info, go to:

Discover Data Quality Issues Before they Arise

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By Taky Djarou, Data Quality Analyst

Melissa has released its new data Profiler API. The Profiler Object offers a unique approach to profiling your data, combining years of contact data quality experience, the power of many Melissa Objects, and data source tables to help you dig deeper into your data and return hundreds of properties about the input table, columns and individual values.

For example, many existing Profilers will allow the user to set a RegEx to capture an email pattern. The Melissa Profiler offers that function, as well as checking the syntax, the domain, and whether it's disposable, has a spammy reputation, or is invalid and will return counts that reflect all of the above.

Data validation is also performed on city, state/province, ZIP and postal code fields to report any discrepancies in your data. Even if you accidentally put a phone number in a name field, Melissa's Profiler can detect and report it.

The Profiler Object returns counts of duplicate records using four different matching criteria (Exact, Address Only, Household, and Contact.) Using the power of our flagship deduplication solution MatchUp, the number of unique records, duplicates and the largest group of duplicate counts will be reported for all four matching criteria.

Melissa's Profiler also provides value specific iterators (pattern, word, data, date, Soundex, etc.) that allow the user to loop through any column in an ascending or descending order to retrieve those values and their respective counts.

The date iterator for example, allows the user to see the busiest/slowest time/day of the month/day of the week using a time stamp field of when a record was created.

To demo the Melissa Profiler, please visit us at: or call 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772) and one of our Sales Representatives will set you up with a free trial.

How to Know Customers Are Who They Say They Are

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In 2015 alone, 62% of companies were targets of payment fraud. As customers increasingly conduct their financial affairs online and via mobile devices, risk management and fraud prevention become more and more difficult. So, how do you know customers are who they say they are?

Short of reaching through the computer, tablet, or smartphone screen and verifying a customer with your own eyes, there are a plethora of ways that help you better know your customer, manage risk, and even prevent fraudulent transactions.

Age & National ID Verification

The first step to customer authentication is to match a customer's national ID (for example, their social security or driver's license numbers) and date of birth. Better authenticate a customer's ID documents and simplify compliance with any age restrictions or purchase laws, while improving customer service at the same time. Instantly verify that the customer purchasing your age-restricted goods is old enough to legally make that purchase.

Name-Address Matching

The second step is to match name to address to confirm the person buying your product or service isn't giving you false information. Personator leverages a comprehensive dataset containing billions of records to confirm and match current names and addresses with the highest degree of accuracy. Our powerful, real-time tools and services help you achieve entity resolution and compliance, as well as better know your customer and reduce, or even eliminate, the need for manual review.

Address Correction & Formatting

Next, you'll want to add in what's missing from customer data entry, legacy systems, sales input, and anywhere else your records come from. Add missing street suffixes, state/province/administrative area info, and standardize addresses to specific country formats using Advanced Address Correction (AAC) to verify that addresses are accurate and deliverable to real locations.

Contact Data Validation

Validation concerns more than just a name or address - it needs to look at all aspects of people data, from names and addresses to phone numbers, email addresses, geocodes, IP locations, demographics, and more. Determine that the given postal address for every customer is deliverable, the email address exists, the name associated with a mobile device and whether the phone number is active and callable, and the given name is in a valid format. You can even trace customers with geocodes and IP locators to manage risk and ensure compliance.

Melissa's Personator® World Edition can help meet all of these needs. Personator is a customizable web service that fits all your ID verification process and risk management requirements. It can help optimize onboarding and fraud detection in Ecommerce, AML Compliance, Customer Due Diligence, Card Not Present, Know Your Customer (KYC), and FinTech/RegTech arenas.

Try Personator free for 30 days to see how it can transform your business's safety and compliance.

Fintech breakthroughs that identify,validate and augment customer data help financial services organizations head off fraud, operate within the rules

One of the most pressing issues facing the financial services industry today is the prevailing emphasis on security and fraud prevention. Big data and analytics are leveraging the power of the Internet, but also offering big, juicy plums for hackers, credit card fraudsters, money launderers and terrorists.


In response, many countries including the U.S. have established Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, intended to guide financial institutions in heading off fraudulent transactions. A key way for banks to do this is to clearly Identify legitimate banking clients and their business relationships so the bad operators become more obvious and identifiable.


But it can be a challenge. Legitimate customers often have multiple banking relationships with a single institution, with identifying information stored in different formats in a multitude of databases. Various family members also may be account owners, but have different names and live at different addresses, possibly even in different countries.


Linking all these threads together while at the same time correcting name misspellings, standardizing mailing address formats, and parsing precise geolocation IDs can be the stuff of banking compliance nightmares.


Not doing this due diligence, however, can be catastrophic. To be hacked and have millions syphoned out of your customers' accounts is one thing, but to have the government ready and willing to fine you for failing various KYC tests can be just as damaging. Can you say "Loss of reputation and customers?"  



Most notably non-compliant of late have been banks based or doing business in India, but it's a worldwide problem. A New York-based broker-dealer recently was charged with KYC violations and for negligently allowing illegal trading by one of its customers. Perhaps the highest profile case most recently was Morgan Stanley Smith Barney running afoul of a variety of KYC violations. The main charge: Morgan Stanley failed to properly identify an assortment of "red flags" that signaled illegal activity.


Thankfully, technological breakthroughs increasingly are offering their own solutions. Just as the digital world has enabled bad players and victimized banks worldwide, technology is fighting back with sophisticated Know Your Customer tools.


A big step forward is the ability to accurately verify names and addresses. In a global world without borders, technology that verifies, cleans, completes and standardizes names, addresses, phone numbers and emails, and does so globally, immensely aids the process of knowing one's customers.


Technologies also exist that adds in missing contact fields, finds census and area-specific statistical details, and provides precise demographic information. When banks are able to combine census and area-specific details with accurate names and addresses, they'll know pretty closely if a variant player is really a customer or a bad guy.


KYC guidelines are very specific about risky areas prone to scams and schemes. A wide variety of countries are identified by the U.S. State Department for being prone to ignoring money laundering, tolerating suspicious transactions, and generally lacking adequate know-your-customer requirements. Ignoring this, in fact, was one of the issues that burned Morgan Stanley, permitting criminal activities to continue unchecked.


While IP lookup that identifies exactly where a digital communication has come from has been around for a while, new geocoding breakthroughs are able to convert IP addresses into precise latitude and longitude coordinates around the world. Most European and international identify cards also can be verified, along with mobile phone numbers and driver's license information.


One of the essential elements in all this is updating customer data. It's been estimated that accurate contact information deteriorates severely and regularly, and good customers who merely move across town can confuse inadequate screening processes and raise red flags (false positives) when it shouldn't. Today there are a variety of modules banks can use to update customer information quickly and accurately.


The bottom line is this: Financial services institutions now have lots of new reasons to love fintech technology that mitigates KYC concerns by identifying legitimate customers, and flagging the ne'er-do-wells before they can be effective.

Meet Melissa: Global Intelligence

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Melissa Data is officially now Melissa.


As we welcome our 32nd year in business, we are excited to announce an important change at Melissa Data. We've decided to drop the "Data" from our brand identity. We are simply Melissa now. This is part of a new branding effort to reflect Melissa's growth, and more importantly, the changes in the data quality space. While authoritative data sources power our products and services, we want to continue developing new solutions that deliver data-driven results for better business intelligence.


This forward thinking change is reflected in our new logo with the design emphasis on the "i" for intelligence. You will see this focus on intelligence in our new ID verification services, our industry-specific solutions to help with Know Your Customer initiatives, risk management and compliance, and in our robust customer data management and data integrations platforms.

And, you'll see it in our new website at 

Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about Melissa's services and solutions. Immediately, you will notice streamlined menus, simple navigation, and quick access to the information you need.


We look forward to working together with all of our existing customers on more opportunities and better solutions for global intelligence. Please feel free to reach out and let us know how we can better assist you.