As retailers scramble to accommodate consumers’ demands, they can leave themselves vulnerable to e-commerce fraud attacks.

Consumers are increasingly going online to shop. Internet Retailer data shows that consumers spent slightly more than $450 billion shopping online in 2017, a 16% increase compared with the previous year.

“As more people buy online, their expectations are rising,” says Stefan Nandzik, vice president of marketing at Signifyd, a provider of e-commerce fraud management technology. “Retailers are constantly struggling to allow customers to buy what they want, when they want it, using the channel they prefer at that moment in time.”

Fraud protection technology is more than a defense weaponFraud protection technology is more than a defense weapon

Stefan Nandzik, vice president of marketing, Signifyd

But as retailers scramble to accommodate consumers’ demands, they can inadvertently leave themselves vulnerable to e-commerce fraud attacks. That helps explain why the number of e-commerce fraud attack incidents rose more than 30% last year, according to data recently released by information services company Experian.

One growing concern among retailers is account takeover fraud, in which a criminal assumes the identity of a consumer that is already known to a retailer, Nandzik says. Signifyd’s data found that the number of account takeover incidents jumped 80% last year. “Once that personal information is stolen, criminal rings post it for sale on the dark web,” he says. “And once criminals have what they need to log in as a consumer, they can take complete control of an account—changing the password to lock out the rightful owner or changing the billing or delivery address.”

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A retailer’s best line of defense against these growing fraud challenges is to leverage a new model of fraud protection, known as guaranteed fraud protection, Nandzik says. The model uses big data and machine learning to sift fraudulent orders from legitimate ones. It guarantees that the retailer will be made financially whole for any costs from an approved order that later turns out to be fraudulent.

“Guaranteed fraud protections allow merchants to give their customers a friction-free buying experience without the bad experiences of having legitimate orders wrongly declined for fear of fraud or having to wait through delays caused by slow-going manual reviews,” he says. “Too often, retailers view fraud protection as a defensive tool, when in fact, in the age of guaranteed fraud protection, it’s a business enabler—and key to getting retailers where they want to be.”

When a retailer is freed from the fear and the potential cost of fraudulent orders, Nandzik says, it can ship more orders and expand into new markets with new consumers who have no transaction history with the merchant. The merchant can grow rapidly, he says, without the fear that manual fraud reviewers will become overwhelmed with new orders.

“Signifyd’s guaranteed fraud protection has shown over the years that chargeback costs can be eliminated, the number of orders shipped can be increased and the cost of operations can be reduced,” Nandzik says.

Electric bicycle company Rad Power Bikes, for example, was growing, which made it difficult to keep up. It was tying up resources doing manual reviews. The process resulted in lost revenue from fraudulent orders or mistakenly declined legitimate orders. The company turned to Signifyd for help. After implementing Signifyd’s guaranteed fraud protection technology, Rad Power Bikes saw a 90% reduction in cases reviewed, a 10% increase in accepted orders and no chargebacks.

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Fraud protection’s greatest value isn’t as a defensive weapon, Nandzik says. “Fraud protection can enable your business by getting you into new markets, improving your customer experience and tearing down barriers to legitimate customers who want to buy your products,” he says.

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