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I need a way to verify a users identity because my web site handles peer to peer buying and selling and I would like to minimize the amour of fraudulent users posting fake listings and never shipping the item. The money transfer goes through my account so if a user charges back I would have to pay. To keep this to a minimum what would deter social engineers and criminals for using my website.

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To verify a user with utmost security, you should verify the user's identity by having him/her enter their credit card number, and then testing that for being registered, and then testing it against your database, along with all other information. This will work because the the user can only make so many fake accounts (1 per credit card), and the user will not want to have to register and manage another credit card for a single service.

EDIT

Another step would be email entering, where the user would enter there email, and two things would happen:

  1. The email entered would be tested against the username selected, furthering the security.
  2. The email entered would have a verification system.

And also, it is possible to test the credit card info by searching google accounts, finding the closest matches (And having the user select their site), and then having them sign into google wallet, thus verifying that it is indeed their card.

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  • This is a very reasonable answer, but seeing as this method is hardly used, I wonder whether there is some reference you can give to back it up? Cyber criminals sometimes hold databases of credit card details, which means that there are cracks in the argument. – Izhaki Jan 7 '15 at 21:49
  • I'm sorry, but I did not get this from any source. I simply got this by thinking what the user would do logically, and what would detour the user from false information. – DripDrop Jan 7 '15 at 22:04
  • To answer the part about cyber criminals, that is very true, but if they have the credit card info, 1. It would be a federal crime, and 2. They would not know EVERYTHING about the person, e.g. username, etc., and 3. They would still only be able to make 1 account with that data. I will edit my question for further details. – DripDrop Jan 7 '15 at 22:25
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Wow. Good luck. I know that the company I'm working for spends a lot of time and money dealing with just this issue. They have arrangements with CC companies and other secondary companies and they flag location, phone number, address and other points in trying to pinpoint and prevent shipping to thieves.

This is not a UX issue. UX is there to enhance the user experience; to make information easy to find and processes easier to infer / learn. UX cannot prevent a thief or a marketer from taking advantage of a situation.

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  • I also felt initially that this isn't a UX question. But you could argue that people have security and privacy needs - and these are part of the overall user experience. But this line of argument is clearly something that can be debated. – Izhaki Jan 7 '15 at 21:52
  • I agree completely that people have security and privacy needs. I can see UX practices helping them feel more or less confident about a particular site but to PREVENT thieves and black-hat marketers. I don't know about that. – Mayo Jan 7 '15 at 22:12
  • There are numerous examples on how security measures can destroy the user experience of a service... – Bluewater Jan 8 '15 at 10:40
  • Absolutely. The Captcha is an example of that. I can see UX helping make a situation better. I don't see how it can PREVENT malicious activity. – Mayo Jan 8 '15 at 14:04
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You can ask user enter his phone number, and he also need to enter the verification code you send to that phone.

This way is popular in China. Hope it helps.

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  • But surely all this proves is that the user owns a phone. Criminals own phones too. – JonW Jan 8 '15 at 8:55

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