Evaluating Device Risk During Onboarding — Zero Friction, High Reward

evaluating device risk

When onboarding new customers online, there are many different risk signals you can evaluate to ensure the customer is who they say they are and that they don’t cause unnecessary risk to your business. For example, you might look at the history of the email address or phone number the customer provides to see if it has been used for opening fraudulent accounts in the past.

Businesses with a relatively high risk tolerance may not need to check many risk signals. But no matter what your business, the one risk signal every business can benefit from is device risk.

Device risk — also called device intelligence or device verification — is the evaluation of the device (e.g., mobile phone or laptop computer) the customer is using during the onboarding process. This process detects the device’s IP address, operating system and age and looks for red flags that indicate fraud. It also determines whether the device is using GPS emulation, device rooting, VPNs or proxies to mask its location, a common trick used by fraudsters in high-risk geographies.

Because this service runs in the background before the user has entered any information, device risk is a completely frictionless check and should be run at the very beginning of the onboarding journey or digital transaction.

Let’s look at an example of how Jumio’s device risk service can help businesses through all the stages of company growth.


In the early days of business, every penny counts, and it’s imperative to get paying customers onto your platform as quickly and inexpensively as possible. But as a new business, your reputation is fragile, and if fraudsters successfully take over your users’ accounts, word will quickly spread that your platform isn’t safe. Without being able to lean on brand loyalty that seasoned businesses have, your business isn’t likely to survive.

Device risk is an ideal solution for startups because it’s fast, frictionless and inexpensive. One startup reported that after implementing device risk checks, they were able to stop 80% of the fraud right up front. That meant that the company didn’t have to send those fraudulent scans through the more expensive identity verification checks, which saved them a lot of money that they were able to invest in their growth instead.

Growing Businesses

When a company is growing fast, the press takes notice. Unfortunately, so do scammers, and they will try more and more sophisticated methods to mask their connections and even change their device characteristics.

That’s why Jumio has an entire team dedicated to keeping up with fraud trends and is constantly evolving its technology. For example, our device risk service was enhanced to not only detect VPNs but also to monitor velocity of the activity (i.e., how often specific device characteristics were observed over a period of time). It’s essential for growing businesses not only to implement device risk checks but to use a service that continually evolves.

Mature Companies

Success can be a mixed blessing, as it comes with a critical need to make sure all of your systems can scale to meet demand. Here again, device risk can help stop thousands of transactions before they start, easing the burden on your onboarding process.

For the transactions that need your review, Jumio recently launched a number of enhancements that allow your analysts to quickly review transactions with high device-risk scores and make rapid decisions. This helps prevent fraudsters from onboarding but also provides quantitative data that can be used to adjust the rules engine in real time to respond to emerging threats. Once the trend subsides, your analysts can adjust the rules back to normal values to prevent unreasonable customer friction.

Therefore, because of the high volume of transactions they must process, mature companies should ensure they use a device risk service coupled with advanced analytics and a self-service rules engine that allows them to respond to threats in real time.


Checking device risk can accelerate a company’s growth and mitigate risks for their customers throughout all stages. With device-related capabilities, Jumio’s customers are able to gain valuable insights into who is connecting to their websites, flag suspicious events and attributes and prevent bad users from negatively impacting good customers. Device intelligence is one of the cheapest capabilities a company can integrate, but the value it provides is immense.


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