Idea: Online Identity Score

A friend of mine wanted to start using eBay, both as a buyer and as a seller. After just a few days her account was permanently suspended, with no option to ever return to eBay. The reason appears to be some mix-up with PayPal. I’m saying “appears to be” because eBay doesn’t tell you why your account is permanently suspended. Calls to the live person support don’t help – the support people just recite a pre-written message and do not say anything else. Apparently the PayPal mix-up made someone in eBay think my friend was a criminal and that’s why she got this harsh treatment.

(On a side note: I witnessed one of these calls. It makes you feel really uncomfortable. If you want to see how criminals are treated, get your eBay account suspended and then call them to ask why. Just know that you will never be able to be an eBay user again)

My idea revolves around verifying that the person is real and “innocent.” Much like the American system of financial credit score, using a person’s email address, one service will be able to trigger an “online identity score” check with other services that user is registered to.

For example, let’s say I’m registering to eBay. During the registration process I give my Gmail address, which I also use for Facebook. With my consent, eBay will be able to query Google and Facebook and ask them about how genuine my account is, so as to verify both that I’m a real person and that my account hasn’t been hacked (both Gmail and Facebook already have fake account and anti-hacking protections.)

4 Replies to “Idea: Online Identity Score”

  1. How about a sponsor?
    I may be wrong, but I think you can’t open a bank account without a letter of employment or a related account (such as a family member).
    So you might ask someone to bootstrap your online identity by vouching for you.

  2. Sponsorship is a great idea!

    How about using your 20% for that? :)

    (also, feel free to choose any idea from the “Ideas” category)

  3. They have a few ways to verify that you are real here.
    Some are based on your bank account. They might ask you to transfer one cent to a pay-pal account or something similar.
    Another way might be by verifying your address via snail mail. FYI: in Germany you have to register with the local authorities within 3 weeks of moving to a new residence.

    OK, you get the idea: hard evidence is needed.

  4. Hard evidence is indeed a good way to do it, but my friend’s story was that her authorized PayPal account wasn’t enough for eBay (and by the way, they take around 2$ now for verification)

    That’s why I started thinking about additional ways to validate an identity.

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