While they present an opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups, they are at risk of abuse by fraudsters, tax dodgers, and other criminals.
Business partners hiding behind shell companies registered at virtual addresses can develop into a serious liability.
When doing business with somebody, you should know if claims under the address in question can even be enforced.
Today, anonymously incorporating a company anywhere in the world is easier than ever. While there are legitimate reasons for doing so, fraudsters, money launderers or even terrorists are actively trying to abuse the system.
Most anti-money laundering measures start and end with a sanctions and PEP list scan. While this step is essential, it is unhelpful when you are dealing with a shell company represented by a nominee director using mail-forwarding to obfuscate its location.
In this case, screening people against blacklist won’t yield meaningful results. What’s more: should the business relationship with such a company ever grow sour, it gets exceedingly difficult to identify the right person to sue for your money.
At Web Shield, we have longstanding experience with underwriting and monitoring high-risk merchants in the global card acquiring space.
In this context we have developed a whole host of methods of identifying virtual addresses, chief among them a database of more than 50 Million addresses. Web Shield has maintained this database since 2012 and our underwriters are constantly enriching it with additional relevant information.
AddressReveal puts this tools directly at your disposal and delivers a near-instant probability score for any address you enter, powered by a diverse set of investigate modules.
Monitor takes 27 different risk indicators in the four areas of Reputation, Content, Transaction Laundering and Money Laundering risk into account.
AddressReveal is built on an ever-growing enriched data set of over 50 Million addresses.
Get a PDF report with all information that factored into the final probability score.Explore the Report
The best anti-money laundering routines don't work when you are dealing with shell companies registered at virtual addresses. Enrich your existing anti-money laundering measures with AddressReveal's Virtual Address Probability Score:
Safely on-board new customers and ensure long-term client portfolio integrity by implementing AddressReveal in your yearly review process.
Weed out addresses associated with tax dodgers and shell companies found in the Panama Papers or similar databases.
Before on-boarding a merchant as an acquirer, you have to verify their actual physical location to be in compliance with card association rules.
Weed out identity thieves abusing mail-forwarding services to buy expensive goods with stolen credit cards or using a synthetic account to get a credit card issued.
Vet the companies you do business with to make sure claims against their address can be enforced if something goes wrong.
Let the Virtual Address Probability Score inform your risk management: Avoid on-boarding clients with questionable virtual addresses associated with fraud or high-risk businesses.
The use of virtual addresses in connection with shell companies for money laundering or tax evasion purposes represents a growing phenomenon and has been in the focus of the public eye since the release of the Panama and Paradise Papers.
In this study, Web Shield's CEO and Founder Christian Chmiel summarises the current regulatory situation and analyse a sample of over 53,000 addresses using an early prototype of AdressReveal's methodology.
Read the White Paper and find out more about which jurisdictions are most prone to virtual office use.
You can read or download a copy of our White Paper here.Download