Advertising and Transaction Fraud: How to Protect Your Business In the Dark Web

With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses have discovered new depths in advertising and global e-commerce. By leveraging the Internet, it has become easier and easier for businesses to communicate their message and reach consumers. However, those access points have called upon a wider issue. “Between that emerging landscape of access points and the data breaches that continue to flood the dark web, we are at a point in time where fraudsters have enormous opportunity to steal revenue from businesses,” says Adam Rogas, CEO of fraud protection company, NS8. Unfortunately, many businesses, regardless of their size, are failing to understand the threats of the dark and stormy web. That is, until it’s too late.

Fraud Is Getting Personal

From Facebook to Marriott, 2018 saw some of the largest-scale security breaches of our time. It certainly did not come without its consequences too. Exposing personal data of thousands, if not millions of people, these incidents opened the door for massive accessibility. As a direct result, criminals have vast information at their fingertips, making it incredibly easy to access users’ online accounts and take what they want. Fraud is finally getting personal. Online consumers are discovering their vulnerability and starting to demand a better way from the businesses they engage in. If you’re a business owner, it’s time to get proactive and inform yourself of the risks that are out there for your business and most importantly, your consumers.

Advertising Fraud

When it comes down to it, your advertising dollars may not be going where you thought they were, and criminals are cashing in on that. Today’s businesses are hungry for visibility. They want to be seen, heard, and spoken to, but ultimately end up speaking into the void. Unfortunately, robot ad views have created a new metric for advertising fulfillment. Dollars are being wasted on bots and non-human traffic, stealing both human engagement and integrity from the marketing mix. Continuing on this path, we all become corporate robots.

Fraud In E-Commerce

In e-commerce, fraud takes a more human approach. Identity theft is one of the most common plans of attack. Gaining information from usernames, passwords, credit card information, and everything in between, hackers are running away with unauthorized purchases and selling data to other criminals as well. Fraudsters are even going so far as to capture children’s social security numbers and fabricating entirely new identities from there. Another common approach is Chargeback Fraud. This occurs when a customer purchases an item and later requests a chargeback from their bank after receiving that item. In this case, the chargeback passed fraud prevention, but is then disputed by the cardholder in an attempt to regain the transaction dollar amount, while retaining the product or services rendered. Thus, it has become important for businesses to protect themselves by investing in chargeback software.

There are many other ways criminals use to get ahead as well. Even more problematic though, is that their approach is constantly evolving. Fraud protection is a tricky thing and its ever-changing nature can make it hard for businesses to keep up. But according to Rogas, “The most important thing for a business or merchant to remember is that they are not alone in fighting fraud.” He continues, “Unwinding the complex system of fraud prevention can seem quite overwhelming but working with the right experts can make fraud prevention much more manageable.”

Understanding the Risks

According to recent studies, a dollar of e-commerce fraud costs merchants $2.94. Those dollars can really add up and in the grand scheme of things, the cost to invest in fraud protection is nothing compared to the cost of dealing with your losses after the fact. The key is to be proactive. “My first piece of advice to smaller e-commerce businesses would be to educate themselves on the threats posted by fraud and what the consequences may be if they’re not proactive in doing so. Losses tied to e-commerce fraud and advertising fraud have reached massive levels on the global scale, so understanding why it is important to attain session data (to detect fraud) for all of your site traffic is critical,” added Rogas.

Network, Network, Network!

The best way to get informed is often to network with peers and other players in your space. Attending networking events and meet up groups can be a great way to educate yourself on current and emerging risks online. It can also be an effective way to build a support network to help you grow and weather the storm that is Internet fraud today.

Maintain Vigilance

Online fraudsters are always active and looking to enhance their approach. For this reason, you must be even more vigilant than the bad guys behind the screen. “You can’t sit back and rest, and constant vigilance is required as fraudsters evolve and change their methods of attack. Make sure you commit time and allocate the resources to deal with security and fraud prevention,” notes Rogas.

Team Up With Experts

Of course, it is always helpful to have an expert in your corner to guide your fraud protection strategy. At NS8, it’s all about creating a full view of the risks ahead, while making it easy for merchants to understand, implement, and take ownership of fraud prevention. In fact, merchants who install NS8 Protect’s plug-in on primary e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, will instantly discover that the software detects both advertising and transaction fraud, delivering ROI within hours. Because when it comes to owning a business, consumers and their privacy are concerns that even the smallest startup can’t ignore.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.