If friction is the new f-word, then fraud is definitely the old f-word. Just ask any fraud analyst. As you’re likely aware, fraud prevention is often a moving target which is why it’s important to stop, collaborate and listen. We’ve been doing a lot of that recently. In our third annual gambling report, we analyzed over 518 million transactions and 781,000 fraud and abuse reports from over 100 global gambling operators and platform providers. We also just wrapped up another successful exhibition at the world’s largest online gambling conference, ICE London, where we heard from many in the industry about their fraud and authentication concerns. During ICE we also hosted a happy hour for current customers where we discussed their pain points, emerging threats and the peculiar penchant the British have for queueing up.
So, what did we learn about fraud from 2018, ICE London and happy hour? Glad you asked.
Rising Bonus Abuse
In 2018, bonus abuse continued to be the number one reported abuse from our gambling subscribers and we definitely heard those sentiments echoed during our conversations at ICE. In the past 3 years, we’ve seen reported bonus abuse rise 287%, underscoring just how large this problem is for the industry.
One of the most effective methods of reducing bonus abuse is by layering machine learning on top of traditional rules-based fraud prevention solutions. This can also be a very good supplement to Know Your Customer (KYC) solutions. Machine learning can continuously monitor billions of global transactions, uncovering subtle device, transaction and account patterns that predict fraudulent behavior that would likely be missed otherwise. By assessing the potential riskiness of a transaction you can better prioritize, removing barriers for low-risk transactions coming from good players and stepping-up only the riskiest transactions. This also allows better targeting for upsell opportunities and premium promotions. As an added benefit, you can prioritize and optimize your review queue, which we know the Brits at least will love.
Credit Card Fraud
Another threat that we continue to see grow year-over-year is credit card fraud. Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen credit card fraud reports from our gambling clients increase a total of 155%, averaging 39% per year. This can have big impacts not only in terms of lost revenue, but also in chargebacks. This is something we’re all too familiar with. One of our very first customers was a gambling operator that was struggling to shut down a fraud ring that was using stolen credit cards to set up new accounts and collude, costing the operator millions of pounds. Our ability to track and understand the reputation of a device over time, across different accounts and geographies, allowed them to spot the fraudulent behavior and uncover otherwise invisible connections between conspirators. In tandem, we monitored for other risk signals such as high transaction velocities for devices or IP address, helping to shut down both the credit card fraud and the rings perpetrating the fraud.
Emerging Threats in 2019
Turning to emerging threats, there were a number of trends that we saw in 2018 that will likely grow in 2019. One of the most disturbing is the cultivation of VIP accounts. This is where fraudsters set up a new account and play with it, often over months, to get it to VIP status before selling it to money launderers. These accounts are generally subject to much less scrutiny than new accounts, making it easier for criminals to evade detection. This highlights the importance of using both fraud prevention and consumer authentication in conjunction to stop threats. With device-based authentication, a user has to pair any devices they use with their account. On subsequent visits, they’ll be allowed to transparently authenticate if the device matches and there are no risk signals such as the use of a Tor network, geolocation mismatch, or detection evasion. If a new device is added to the account, you will receive a notification along with any risk insight so you can step-up or deny the transaction. Allowing you to shut down the brokering of VIP accounts.
If you’re interested in learning more about the insights we gained from 2018, ICE London and our happy hour then download the full 2019 Gambling Industry Report, which provides an in-depth analysis of the trends that drove gambling in 2018 and insights into driving differentiation with players in 2019.