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How to avoid creating duplicate customer profiles with CreateCustomerProfileFromTransactionRequest

We are attempting to integrate Big Commerce and an Order Management System with

Big Commerce is creating the initial transaction during the checkout for an authorization.

We are then retrieving the order details from Big Commerce as well as the Gateway Transaction ID.

We then are attempting to locate an existing customer profile ID based on email address.

If we do not obtain an existing Profile, we are then looking to create a new profile from the transaction ID.

This process seems to create duplicate customer profiles every time in our sandbox. 

We have tried to call the method while providing merchantCustomerID as well.

So we would expect to get an error about dupes when sending a second "CreateCustomerProfileFromTransactionRequest" with a different transaction and the same merchantCustomerID, but we just create a duplicate profile.  We aren't seeing customer payment id's merging with customer profiles on subsequent calls either.

Is there a best practice for creating a Customer Profile using a transaction ID without creating a duplicate that also would merge new payments into an existing customer profile (if exists)?