Recently in Data Enhancement Category

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the customer" have a master file chock-full of customer information, all of which is consolidated, but much of which is out of date and duplicated across systems.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.

Making Data Work for Your Geospatial Challenges

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Anyone who has looked at flood data knows that FEMA is not the answer. It's not that FEMA doesn't try to accurately map what they believe to be floodable areas. It's that FEMA is politically driven. As a city, you do not have to participate in FEMA mapping. Why would you not participate? Well, properties in flood zones tend to have lower valuations, and lower valuations tend to generate lower taxes. Even as an individual you can exempt yourself with a LOMA. A LOMA establishes a property's location in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  LOMAs are usually issued because a property has been inadvertently mapped as being in the floodplain, but it is actually on natural high ground above the base flood elevation.

Melissa customer wanted to sell flood insurance to prospects that were in flood zones but not likely to flood and not in flood zones but likely to flood. They had three primary targets, properties in 100 year flood zones that were not likely to flood, properties in a 500 year flood zone that were not likely to flood, and properties in FEMA minimal risk zones that were likely to flood. The customer realized that they needed a way to understand the current FEMA designation for the target properties but also have an independent flood likelihood evaluation of the property. For them, we created a sample set of customers utilizing HazardHub risk data that looked something like this:


Then they created a targeted list by selecting B and C score prospects from the 100 year and 500 year flood plains and D and F score prospects from the minimal risk flood zones. This scoring and these selections are available nationwide and provided the customer with the ability to selectively target the types of customers that they were interested in from a risk exposure perspective. While this example discusses flood, this works for any natural hazard where properties are exposed, both personal property as well as commercial property.

If you have data challenges to solve, perhaps the Melissa team can offer the location intelligence solution needed. Melissa supports geospatial professionals in the goal of mapping innovation in location-based services, analytics and decision-making powered by location intelligence. We provide a wealth of location data enrichments including global geocoding to derive latitude and longitude from an address, and geo-enriched data for IP addresses. We offer other types of specialized data including U.S. property and mortgage data (type and number of buildings on a parcel, property age, construction, sales value, and more), demographics (household income, marital status, residence data, credit information, and more), and risk and natural hazard information (wind, water, ground and wildfire) that can be linked to location data to reveal relationships and trends. Our data feeds easily into popular data visualization and analytics platforms for ease of use and up-to-the minute accuracy. When you need to solve global challenges with geospatial technology, turn to Melissa - your single, trusted source for authoritative reference data. 

Written for Directions Magazine - Header Image via @directionsmag



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.



Hindsight is, as we know, 20/20.  But, what if, when it came to natural hazards and their impact on your portfolio, you didn't have to rely on hindsight?  What if, you could understand your risks and exposures before an event occurred and write and plan appropriately?  Wouldn't that be better than hoping and praying that nothing bad happened?


Of course it would.  And we all know that bad things still happen no matter how much hoping and praying goes on.  That said, how many companies truly use hazard data in their everyday processes?  Sadly, very few.  For a large number of insurers either cost or technology or both keeps them from making use of some of the most effective data for pricing a policy, validating claims, and knowing your true exposure.


This probably isn't news that extensive property level data can enable a great level of risk awareness and location intelligence which in turn reduces risk for insurers while improving customer communications and service.  But what is news is that this risk information is now more available and easily accessible than ever before, enabling more insurers to take advantage of it.


When geospatial data first arrived it was primarily used by the big insurers who could afford to have a geographic information systems (GIS) team to develop or purchase the information, integrate the information, build decision models and monitor usage.  But thanks to technologies companies can now get a hazard answer for just about any hazard easily through Data as a Service (DaaS).


With DaaS you get answers to the hazard questions you have, when you have them.  For example, at time of quote: What is this policy exposed to?  How far is it from a fire station?  What's the distance to coast?  What rating territory or premium tax area is it in?  Knowing this information at the time of quote saves the embarrassment of an initial rate quote moving dramatically upwards if this information is only used at time of binding. 


Do you understand the hazards your portfolio is truly exposed to?  For example, knowing if properties are in a flood, surge, fire or earthquake zone can support a detailed plan for prospects your business can reach.  You may not insure for flood or earthquake, but knowing the risk exposure to those hazards and your ability to educate your prospective customer on them can separate you from your competitors.  While this has always been the case for the use of hazard data, the difference today is that hazard data is now a real-time asset, helping insurers make internal risk assessments as part of policy services.


Hazard information also allows you to better educate your customers.  Most customers do not know what hazards their property, personal or commercial, is exposed to.  A neatly formatted on-line report provided by your company using hazard data can help your customers better mitigate for risk.  As an example: This address in New Smyrna Beach, FL.

Flood Risk

Covered by FEMA digital maps. Minimal Risk of Flooding                            B

Fire Protection Class

Unprotected                                                                                                  D

Wildfire Risk

Very High                                                                                                       F

Drought Risk

Abnormally Dry - Increases the risk of wildfire at this location                     C

Earthquake Damage Risk

No Damage                                                                                                   A

Hurricane Damage

High Property Damage                                                                                 D

Superfund Site Risk

> 2,500 Feet from Known Superfund Site                                                     A

Brownfield Site Risk

> 500 Feet from Known Brownfield Site                                                       A

Florida Sinkhole Risk

Limited Sinkhole Risk                                                                                    B

Straight Line Wind Risk

Very High                                                                                                      D

2" Hail Risk

Very High                                                                                                      D

Tornado Risk

High                                                                                                              C

Lightning Risk

Very High                                                                                                      D

Special Wind Regions

NOAA Hurricane Prone Wind Region: Risk varies with location                   C

Florida Wind Born Debris Zone

130 MPH Wind Speed Zone                                                                          F


Very High                                                                                                      D

In looking at this property an insurer can instantly tell that there will be insurability issues.  If this property were already a part of your book of business there are any number of steps you would want to encourage this policyholder to take.  Unprotected for fire - fire extinguishers.  High risk of wildfire - mitigation steps.  Wind borne debris - shutters.  Impacts of convective storms and hurricanes - roof ties, mitigation information, lightning rods.  On the plus side there's no storm surge risk and minimal risk from flood.  Knowing that it's unlikely that there will be a water claim.

By accessing geographic risk-sets in real-time, natural hazard data such as wind, fire, water, or earthquake risk can be easily associated with specific properties.  Ideally, this is coupled with property and mortgage data enhancements, as well as location intelligence toolsets, such as address verification, geocoding and reverse geocoding, and IP location.  Based on multi-sourced datasets, insurers have real-time access to hundreds of different metrics on individual residential or commercial properties.  Hazard data scores are based on information from sources such as FEMA, NOAA, USGS, and state and local governments, and include risk of flooding, wildfire, lightning strikes, straight-line winds, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and more.  It's a higher level of insight for insurance professionals, making decisions based on end-to-end property intelligence supported by precise risk scores made easier through hazard DaaS.




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.


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:

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.

3 Ways to Get Your Integrated Marketing in Gear

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Do you feel your marketing efforts need to be more unified? Try integrated marketing - a holistic approach to ensuring your audience receives a consistent message both online and offline. But to be effective, you need the data to reach them the way they want to be contacted. Here's 3 easy ways to get your integrated marketing in gear.


Step 1.
Add consumer and business emails to your postal database.

Request Quote


Step 2.
Add mobile numbers for SMS/text marketing.

Request Quote 


Step 3.
Add social media data for over 20 networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and more.

Request Quote 

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.

The last major update to the Business Coder Web Service includes the addition of employee contacts for the entered business, allowing for the retrieval of employee names and their respective titles. The next major update to Business Coder will feature an upgrade to the employee contact list returned. Aside from the name and title, contacts will now also give back both their email address and phone number if available. 

This is what the contacts array used to return, versus what it returns with the latest update:


Make sure to take advantage of these new fields in the next Business Coder update in order to enrich and improve your business contact information. Leveraging additional contact information will certainly allow for new opportunities with business prospects and allow for better marketing segmentation.


Try our Business Coder API now.