Retailers act to stem fraud, sharing transactional data to enable real-time risk detection and speed up processes

PRESS RELEASE: A number of leading UK retailers have announced they are sharing data through a fraud and loss prevention coalition being launched by consumer insight and anti-fraud specialist Transactis – forging a powerful new weapon in the battle against both professional and opportunistic fraudsters, while strengthening processes that ensure genuine customers receive better service.

The initial members of the Transactis’ TRADE scheme include multimedia retailer QVC UK and multi-brand online retail group Shop Direct – whose divisions include Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.com. The scheme aims to vastly improve merchants’ ability to spot potential fraudsters at any customer touch point and act rapidly by enabling them to tap into behavioural data across multiple brands.

Sharing data via TRADE not only better equips retailers to identify, investigate and challenge potential fraudsters, but it makes it quicker and easier for them to authenticate genuine customers making legitimate claims for missing deliveries, lost returns and other order problems. The result is that honest consumers – who make up the vast majority – will see data checks clear the way for expedited responses to reported distribution errors and similar issues.

With these key players signed up to the new data-sharing initiative, TRADE already brings together customer information from nine million UK households – 39% of the marketplace – and is inviting other retailers to join. Members are able to make quick decisions on questionable customer conduct and suspect transactions based on analysis of consumer behaviour patterns across a wider information base than previously available. TRADE is the first database that shares real-time fraud and loss information from both ‘cash’ and ‘credit’ etailers.
TRADE allows retailers to more quickly and easily identify fraud and loss risk related to order processing, identity verification, goods lost in transit, returns and other related activities by providing a view of the broader pattern of each customer’s behaviour across a much larger range of transactions. The scheme draws on data not just on individual consumers but on addresses so that, through sophisticated data matching techniques, retailers can detect fraudsters using multiple identities across several organisations and other tactics for masking dishonest activities.

Notes John Pears, director of credit risk and operations at Shop Direct: “TRADE has been put together with input from retail players that really understand the impact of fraud and the need for a loss prevention platform that addresses the challenges they face each day. The retail industry – especially the companies involved in ecommerce and other forms of home shopping – needs a system that takes this type of loss prevention to the next level.”

He adds: “Previously, we’ve had to rely on data developed for use by financial institutions, which does not fully address the very specific cyber threats that online retailers are facing today. TRADE will add a new, universal layer of fraud data that will enable retailers to identify these threats more effectively and reduce fraud losses as a result.”

TRADE provides member retailers with all the information they need to quickly decide how to proceed at any point in the customer journey – their initial contact with the company to registration to order to payment to fulfilment. The result is decisions can be made in real time on whether there is strong risk of identity theft, no intent to pay, a false goods lost in transit (GLIT) claim or another form of fraud or misrepresentation.

Dave Webber, Product and Professional Services Director at Transactis, explains: “There is a very narrow window for a retailer to review an order and decide what action to take. Not only is there the relationship with the customer to consider – for instance, the retailer can’t just wait and see what happens if a delivery goes missing – but there is the cost that further investigation would entail, so there is a real need for the company to have relevant information that enables it to quickly and efficiently assess a situation and prioritise the use of its resources.”

Martin Spencer, Finance Manager of QVC UK, comments: “Best practice and doing things the right way – for both the business and the customer – depends on having the right tools to tackle retail fraud. TRADE provides a new and essential instrument for doing this, providing a ground-breaking means of cutting down losses arising from first-party fraud against retailers engaged in ecommerce. It is a solution that the whole sector could pick up on – to everyone in the industry’s advantage.”

He concludes: “Companies in the retail industry have not really worked together before to deliver a collective anti-fraud service that covers both card and credit transactions, so TRADE is providing a real opportunity for a level of information-sharing that has not previously been possible. This will not only ensure quicker and more effective fraud screening, but it will mean that we and other TRADE members can do a better job of making sure genuine customers get the best possible service.”

TRADE officially stands for Transactis Risk Assessment Data Exchange. Members share customer data relating first party fraud, third party fraud and all other types of loss, enabling retailers see beyond the narrow picture of a customer’s behaviour that their own transactional data reveals. The data is not shared for any other purpose but loss and fraud prevention.

The TRADE system allows members to review 187 incremental facts about an individual, including the number of:

• matched members
• matched addresses
• accounts the customer holds
• accounts with no losses
• accounts used for suspected fraud
• accounts with chargebacks
• individual orders
• orders with GLIT claims
• items claimed
• items returned
Other variables that can be taken into account include value of arrears, fraud and failure to pay, along with ratios such as account loss, claim to order and return to item value. All these figures are viewed across the entire database, taking in all members and enabling participating retailers to see a broader scope of activity that might raise red flags. The scheme is governed by the members and Transactis, with a rotating chairmanship. For more information, visit www.transactis.co.uk/trade

About Transactis

Transactis is a customer insight, data management and anti-fraud services business, providing marketing, fraud prevention and customer management solutions to some of the most successful organisations in the UK. The company is one of the UK’s leading specialists in combining data from multiple sources to provide a detailed and actionable understanding of individual consumer behaviour, risk and opportunity. Using its unique data resources, specialist knowledge and innovative technology, Transactis delivers products and services that allow their clients to make better, faster and more informed decisions to generate greater efficiencies, profit and an enhanced experience for their customers. The company was recently honoured with awards for innovation and overall achievement at the 2013 Retail Fraud Awards.