This is an unusual kind of blog post for us. We’ve been getting some questions recently about the “human side of fraud” – how it feels for people affected by fraud protection systems and decisions, and how it feels from the fraudster perspective as well. So we’re going to start sharing our perspective on that from time to time.
It so happened that over the last few months we saw a number of orders that match the one below, across various merchants. This month, we’ve been hearing positive feedback from many of these merchants about how these are exactly the kinds of transactions they used to decline, and that being with Forter has made an appreciable difference to their ability to approve orders and know that they’re not turning away good customers as false positives.
It was mentioned a few times that the Disney World dilemma orders in particular were ones that had been painful for merchants – the fraud team, the customer support team, and the sales team. No one liked to feel that they had made the Disney World experience less magical due to an overly cautious fraud review or fraud protection mechanism. And those were never good Customer Support conversations. For this reason, Forter’s ability to approve such transactions through accuracy has been particularly noticed within these retail organizations.
It was obvious to us that this was a false positive trend with more emotional impact than you’d expect. So this is what we imagine it felt like from the customer’s perspective:
So, after careful planning and much anticipation we joined millions around the world, packed our suitcases and took a flight to enjoy the Floridian sun and attractions. We arrived at our hotel – imagine a nice Disney on-site hotel or a fancy off-site resort. I don’t want to share too many details, but suffice to say we were happy with our accommodation. We were warmly welcome by our hosts, received an explanation about the resort and the nearby parks and even got a free upgrade to a better room! So far sounds great, right?
At this point I would like to stop my story and add one important detail – I am not an American citizen. I prefer not to state my country of origin – let’s just say we bring many visitors to WDW annually (I’ll give you a shortlist – United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Mexico).
Prior to the trip, we made all the necessary arrangements. We picked our favorite parks and attractions (my son’s favorite is Splash Mountain), booked the hotel, arranged restaurant reservations, and did a fair amount of online shopping to take advantage of the lower prices and free domestic shipping (everything was shipped to our hotel). We ordered new phones and tablets at the famous “electronics-for-the-people.com.” (I prefer to avoid online shaming – It isn’t a real website name – don’t bother to check.)
Once we were at the hotel, I asked the nice receptionist if they got our package. He said nothing had arrived for us (even though we made the order well in advance) and suggested we should try to contact the retailer’s customer support. We called and got the expected message – “Our offices are open between 9 AM and 6 PM…”
On the next day, when we were on our way to the Magic Kingdom, I called again and got a confirmation our package was never sent. At first, the support representative wouldn’t give any explanation, and it was only after I demanded to speak with a manager that I understood what had happened. “Well, we’ve had cases that looked like this one before, and they were fraudulent, so our fraud protection program rules blocked you and we never sent the package even though you got an email saying it had been shipped.”
He offered to resend the package with free shipping (the shipping was already free in the first place). I reused and hung up – both because I know we are leaving Orlando to the Bahamas in few days, and because it is not so nice to start a day with Mickey and his friends after being accused of being a credit card thief and I didn’t feel like interacting any further with those responsible. I continued my day writing an angry Facebook post on the “electronic-for-the-people” page stating I will never buy there again, while my kids enjoyed their lunch in front of Cinderella’s castle.
While this first person account is entirely fictional, there is some basis in fact. We saw several transactions exactly like this one recently, and Forter’s system correctly approved them, saving the merchant the pain of a false positive and saving the customer an experience like this one. So we’re only imagining how it would have felt for all concerned if it’d been mistakenly rejected.
We feel reasonably confident about it, though, since one of the recurring themes that comes up in conversation with our own clients about how things have changed since they switched to Forter’s fraud protection is how pleased they are about the decrease in angry customer support calls from customers who want their packages and can’t understand why the order wasn’t approved.
While Disney World happens to be an example that we’ve seen many times, and one that many of our clients have mentioned as featuring in cases that were especially problematic before they started working with Forter, this kind of issue comes up with tourists, traveling businessmen and women, backpackers and so on all the time. The signs are all there for a suspicious transaction – unless your system is also monitoring and analyzing the more subtle details that enable you to piece together the true, good story (automatically, in Forter’s case).