Fraud sucks, it really does, and if you’ve ever worked in eCommerce you’ll know first hand how complicated and frustrating it can be. Most companies have begrudgingly accepted that it’s one of the costs of doing business online, but when it comes to gift vouchers, we knew more could be done…
If you sell things on the internet you’re likely to encounter fraud at some point and that’s why most payment providers build in a certain level of smart prevention measures to help reduce (but rarely eliminate) fraudulent activity. In fact, fraud is still on the rise, and according to The Independent cases in the UK rose by a frightening 40% in 2018 alone.
So what can we do about it?
Well, we can’t stop criminals doing their thing, we’ll leave that to the police, and we’re not quite big enough to tackle the internet’s problem as a whole, so right now, we’re focused on making life easier for our clients.
It’s worth us mentioning that Stripe (our industry-leading payment provider) does a great job of identifying a certain number of fraudulent transactions before they complete successfully. We implemented their Radar toolset about two years ago and it works by utilising the aggregate data (anonymised of course) of every transaction processed on their network – It’s very clever and totally worth the investment, you can find out more about it here.
So, with a multi-billion pound company’s fraud protection already in place, you’re probably wondering why we’d go and build something ourselves?
Well firstly, whilst Stripe helps us deal with a fair amount of fraud before the transaction, Radar doesn’t help with the fraudulent transactions that do slip through the net. For example, a recently stolen card may not be recognised by Stripe Radar immediately and as thieves are normally keen to spend the money quickly, it was important for us to work on identifying the small batch of fake customers who still manage to place an order.
Secondly, with a general increase in online fraud as a whole, we felt it was our responsibility to help our clients avoid as many chargebacks as possible. When a fraudster gets away with stealing someone’s card details and manages to buy, then redeem a gift voucher, it usually results in our clients getting a forced refund from the bank (a chargeback) whilst also losing the cost of providing the experience itself.
It’s worth noting that we also get charged a £15.00 admin fee so it’s within everyone’s best interest to find new ways to tackle fraud.
How we addressed the problem
With the above in mind, our dev team set out to isolate the patterns and behaviours that are most commonly associated with a fraudulent order which we then use as the basis for building our own ‘aprés’ fraud score. The theory being that if we could consistently guess fraudulent behaviours, we could also reliably stop the voucher ever being redeemed and therefore reduce the number of chargebacks our clients encounter.
Once we had a plan to reliably predict potential fraud our development team built a set of algorithms to dynamically run these tests across our entire client base and fuel a predictive pattern programme that improves itself over time.
We have been measuring the results since launch and are pleased to say that it’s been a massive success. It’s still early days for Giftpro Protect, but by utilising aggregate data from a rapidly growing client base we’ll be able to keep making this feature better and hopefully (one day) get to the point where we stop fraudsters having their cake all-together.
So now, if and when potential fraudulent behaviour is detected, our clients are presented with new information to help them handle the situation in the most appropriate way. We offer guidance on how to deal with a potential fraudster, and as a client, you have the ability to add your own policy and rules. Fundamentally, you and your team now have the ability to make an educated decision as to whether to redeem the voucher at all.
So far, the results have been fantastic and by combining Stripe Radar with Giftpro Protect it puts us way ahead of the curve as the only gift voucher system with built-in proprietary fraud reduction technology.
Giftpro Protect in 5 points
- Looks for key indicators that suggest a transaction may be fraudulent.
- Alerts staff to potentially fraudulent gift vouchers near the point of redemption.
- Provides advice on how to deal with fraudsters in person.
- Learns from our network of stores and data to improve itself over time.
- Provides an additional layer of protection on top of Stripe Radar.