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web and mobile fraud

Putting customer service at the front line of LP in 2023

Comsec can now place preventative empowerment in the hands of call handlers

The customer may be king, but when it comes to truly preventing retail fraud it is the customer service team who will become the ‘king makers’ of loss prevention in 2023.

As the new year begins, retailers are increasingly looking for innovative ways to arrest the ever-changing spectre of refund fraud that gathered momentum during 2022 fuelled by the ubiquitous presence of social media platforms brazenly marketing fraud as a service (FaaS) in the same way as they would push any other legitimate items.

This included the purchase of ‘how to’ guides to secure bogus returns scams as a result of the post-COVID cost-of-living crisis where consumers and criminals openly share modus operandi (MO) in return for a percentage of the spoils. 

Retailers have already put analytical tools built on big data in the hands of their risk teams, generating reactive post investigations to target both opportunist and recidivist fraudsters, but 2023 looks set to focus the data at preventative strategies. 

Award-winning investigations business Comsec specialises in mining the rich seams of retail data and open-source intelligence as well as monitoring online forums to not only understand the MOs, but also pinpoint, infiltrate and bring to justice the ringleaders who have made fraud their lucrative day job, as part of a brand-new end-to-end solution. 

The business, which already works with adidas and law firm DwF to identify the kingpin players in a sophisticated fraud operation allowing the sports brand to follow up with civil recovery enforcement to recoup losses is now honing its solution to empower customer service teams to make more informed decisions ahead of a refund being agreed, thus preventing the fraud.

“We have now developed the solution to empower customer service teams in the first instance rather than having to chase the loss when it has occurred,” said Alex Jones, director of operations at Comsec which secured the Most innovative Online Retail Risk Management Solution and the Best Collaborative Retail Risk solution at the 2022 Fraud Awards.

The business, which also developed the industry leading Watchdog tool which harnesses open source investigations to identify stolen items offered for sale on multiple social media platforms, believes that customer service teams represent the first line of defence in the fight against fraud.

The solution, which was unveiled at the NRF Retail Expo in New York in January, is seen as a game changer that uses the harnessed and shared data to enable businesses to make better informed decisions, including requiring persons of interest having to come into store to claim their refund.

“The utopia we are all seeking is all around prevention rather than recovery – the customer service teams will be able to identify from the database if there is a listing of potential serial refunders,” said Alex.

“Everything is now data-driven - we have simply taken what we have learned to the next level. It is making big data manageable and enabling retailers to go after the recidivists and stop the fraud from happening in the first place.”

From customer service fraud prevention to civil recovery from opportunist refund fraudsters, Comsec’s 2023 is already proving that while the customer may be king, big data in the hands of both customer service and investigators is the true ‘kingmaker’ when it comes to end-to-end refund fraud disruption.

For more information, contact Alex Jones.

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