When Kyle Vassallo joined Timex Group USA Inc. in 2017, he knew something needed to change. The Connecticut-based watchmaker was facing a slew of fraudulent orders, and the system to prevent ecommerce fraud was slow and cumbersome.

“It was a very manual process,” Vassallo, the senior manager of global ecommerce operations, told Digital Commerce 360. Timex had only one employee dedicated to online fraud detection. “He would kind of go through and look at what he judged as possible fraud and then go through each order individually and look up addresses and basically cyberstalk, if you will, these orders by looking at people’s phone numbers and email addresses,” Vassallo said.

“It was very time-consuming and at the scale that we were growing — 20% to 30% year over year — it just wasn’t feasible for him to go through and evaluate these himself.”

So Vassallo began searching for software that could prevent fraudulent transactions. After looking at several vendors, he chose ClearSale, which uses artificial intelligence to screen purchases for possible fraud.

“I think the selling point for us was really that they stand behind their chargebacks. Any order that does go through and we get dinged for a fraudulent order (by the credit card or other payment company), ClearSale takes that off our bill for the following month,” Vassallo said.

A chargeback is when a merchant is forced to return money after a consumer disputes a purchase made using their credit card, claiming that it was fraudulent or made without their knowledge or permission. In a chargeback, the credit card company reverses the charge, reimburses the consumer, and debits the merchant’s account.

ClearSale says it helped retailers avoid more than $55 million in fraud in the past 12 months by stopping more than 200,000 fraudulent transactions. The rate of fraud attempts varies widely across ecommerce categories.

ClearSale says it has seen fewer fraud attempts for Timex than for online stores that sell cellphones, perfumes, computers, cameras, or luxury clothes. But Timex faced more fraud attempts than online stores that sell beauty products and clothing/apparel.

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