As the first light of dawn creeps over the horizon, we steel ourselves for the onslaught ahead. Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, a time of unparalleled activity in the digital commerce world, is upon us. It’s a period that spells both opportunity and threat and we, the fraud analysts, stand ready.
I often liken the eve of Black Friday to preparing for a siege in a digital fortress. In these quiet, anticipatory hours, we huddle around our computers, poring over data from previous years and sharpening our tools: updating software, refining algorithms, and setting digital snares. We examine things like:
- What was the most coveted item from previous years?
- Was there a specific gift card that popped up as being more fraudulent than others?
- What will be the newest device configuration or operating system weakness that fraudsters will seek to exploit?
- Will a new fraud ring emerge and what will its modus operandi look like?
As the weekend unfolds, we monitor threats around the clock, with handoffs made between analysts on shifts that monitor and overview any anomaly that jumps out in the alerting system. We are constantly reviewing dashboards in the command center, looking at trends such as:
- A spike in traffic from a large fast fashion site. Is it a TikTok post that went viral, triggering a spike in activity? Or is it a fraudster trying to get a hold of a coveted item?
- A specific hotel chain has 4x the traffic than a normal day. Is it really the 20% booking discount? Or is there a fraudster hiding behind it?
- A 350% increase in a specific credit card used in a large home appliance chain. Is it because they are offering a promo for this sale period? Or is it a fraudster who now has a hold of an Excel sheet with this issuer’s cards?
Each alert from the system is like a puzzle waiting to be solved. Is there a real “wolf in sheep’s clothing” among the throngs of digital shoppers?
Communication is also crucial in this dance of fraud detection, as a poor understanding of a spike can severely damage a retailer’s peak sale period. Constant contact with Forter’s customer support teams that speak to merchants and ensure they are notified of spikes, sometimes flagging to merchants and advertisers that specific promotions might not generate the good traffic they initially had in mind.
Though Forter’s Trust Platform is powered by AI, it’s our additional layer of human insight that makes our platform unique and robust. As an analyst, I feel a sense of guardianship — watching over the seamless flow of legitimate transactions while keeping a vigilant eye out for anything amiss.
In the dynamic world of digital commerce, the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend stands as a formidable challenge, demanding a blend of top-tier technology and human vigilance. As fraud analysts, we are the sentinels in this high-stakes environment, orchestrating the seamless flow of legitimate transactions while meticulously identifying potential threats.
Our role extends beyond mere data analysis; it’s about safeguarding an intricate ecosystem that spans the globe. And the coolest part? It’s all done over an immense scale — with Forter decisioning over $6 billion worth of transactions for over 36 million shoppers, touching all countries and territories worldwide, all while maintaining 100% uptime.
Each decision we make, no matter how minor, echoes across this vast network, reinforcing the delicate balance between security and efficiency – and I take great pride in being a part of the team, standing tall and safeguarding the processes for our customers. And as the holiday shopping season continues, we remain steadfast, committed to ensuring integrity prevails.