Rei Carvallo, CEO of Emailage, shares his insight into the threat of fraud facing small to medium merchants in the US, and explains why many businesses should be investing more in the issue than they currently are.
For US retailers, rising "Card Not Present" (CNP) fraud represents a clear and present threat. The latest figures show that, globally, merchants will lose some US$130bn by 2024 to this kind of fraudulent activity, according to Juniper Research.
While this threat is understood at the industry level, research shows that on the frontlines of everyday commerce, many US retailers don't share the proper level of concern. A new study by Emailage gathered insights from 1,000 small and medium merchants in North America, finding that around half (48.4%) consider their company too small to worry about fraud. One-in-three (38%) do not consider fraud prevention to be a business priority.
There's further evidence for the risk this complacency poses to SMBs in the US. According to Emailage's research, in the last 12 months, companies with fewer than 49 employees were hit particularly hard by fraud, reporting average losses of $37,258.14 each to criminal activity. Meanwhile, fraud losses reported by larger businesses in the U.S. averaged $26,640.40 and $14,673 in Canada.
A false sense of security
For many growing companies, the threat of a fraud attack may seem remote; until an attack occurs, prevention is seldom top-of-mind. However, merchants should know that, as marketing spend and word-of-mouth buzz increases, so will attention from fraudsters.
In failing to invest in the appropriate precautions, small merchants are increasing their fraud risk exposure – a company with few security measures is far more attractive to the fraudster than one with robust controls.
Losses from even a single attack can easily dwarf the capital expenditure needed to implement new anti-fraud systems, not to mention the loss of brand reputation. With this in mind, it is crucial that small merchants take the fraud threat seriously and invest in prevention solutions.
Shoring up defences
Accurate customer authentication is central to any fraud prevention system. Also required are processes that verify the purchaser's digital identity to ensure that the transaction is genuine.
One form of customer authentication that is being harnessed by a growing number of merchants in North America is the use of customers' email address data to confirm and verify their identity. Usually relegated to marketing purposes, email is a unique – 91% of email users keep the same email address for three years, and 51% do so for over ten years. The behaviour and history associated with an email address as it moves around the web represent much more dynamic intelligence than static data points, such as name or address.
Such email risk assessment solutions, like Emailage's EmailRisk Score, harness multiple data points associated with an email address to separate fraudsters from genuine customers without impacting on conversion rates or customer experience – making them a practical, "zero-friction" fraud prevention option.
With these kinds of precautions, merchants can optimize their processes to protect customers from fraud, reduce false positives and protect revenue.
Don’t neglect – protect
Size doesn't matter when it comes to CNP fraud. Even the smallest merchants are at risk, which is why it is so essential for SMBs to invest in reliable fraud prevention systems.
By partnering with the right fraud prevention provider, small merchants can ensure they have the best available intelligence to defend their business and lay the foundation for future success.
To find out more about why small merchants must prioritize fraud prevention, read Emailage's report: Size doesn’t matter: Why fraud prevention is a strategic investment for SMBs.