In Conversation with Daniel Sevskis, Counter Fraud Team Lead

ECOMMPAY offers excellent resources for professional development – just ask Daniel Sevskis, who went from Tech Support to Counter Fraud Team Lead. He shares his journey – as well as some insights into risk management trends – in this interview on fighting payment fraud.

To briefly introduce who you are and what you do, could you please describe your career trajectory at ECOMMPAY?

I joined the Tech Support team back in 2014, working there for approximately a year and a half before the company underwent some restructuring and I ended up in the Fraud/Chargebacks Division. I didn’t have a lot of prior experience, but ECOMMPAY offers excellent resources for professional development. This is one of our greatest strengths. To this day, we look for new team members across multiple sectors, which then gives us a more holistic approach to risk management.

As Team Lead, my work is divided into three parts: I answer questions requiring my expertise and check all documentation to ensure it meets all regulatory and industry standards, I invest in educating and developing the capabilities of my team, and I work on projects in tandem with the IT team. This has enabled us to not only build new systems and solutions, but also to ensure that we equip our clients with the tools necessary to fight payment fraud and provide the best possible support to ensure comprehensive coverage.

How does the proprietary FraudStop system factor into this holistic approach?

FraudStop is our automated solution. When I joined, it was not nearly as sophisticated as now. There were definitely instances where FraudStop would decline genuine transactions alongside the fraudulent ones. To ensure our clients don’t lose out on revenue, we had to introduce manual monitoring, where risk analysts would be reviewing suspicious cases in parallel with the system to determine their authenticity. They’d also configure the system to replicate these decisions in the future, if similar cases arise. Ultimately, the goal is to enhance the automation and decrease the number of transactions routed for manual review.

Risk management can’t be called a project. It’s always a process. Over the years, we’ve added a lot of new features: we’ve calculated how to quantify the risk of any given transaction, we’ve introduced new filters, we’ve adapted the system to work with payouts and alternative payment systems. Not to mention, of course, the sheer magnitude of the work we’ve done to write all the necessary documentation.

What is the direction in which eCommerce fraud is heading? How does FraudStop address these trends?

The reality of the situation is that fraud is lucrative, so fraudsters are incentivised to innovate, developing mechanisms to steal cardholder data. It’s practically impossible to stop a fraudulent transaction. The objective when it comes to fighting payment fraud, therefore, isn’t to stop it so much as to negate its impact. We’re doing this with the help of modern technologies like fingerprinting, as well as by applying our extensive industry and market knowledge and the databases we’ve collected over the years. FraudStop uses machine learning to recognise users while applying big data analysis to recognise fraudulent behaviour.

We also dedicate a lot of effort to finetuning our filters and developing new ones. Some of our filters, for example, divide countries by level of risk and blacklists the countries where merchants are not permitted to process. Following comprehensive analysis, we’re able to then advise our client on why there are a lot of declines originating from a certain territory.

Does payment fraud also differ by eCommerce sector?

Yes, of course. Of the various types of fraud, lending companies suffer the most from phishing and fake IDs. Chargebacks are common in travel. Stolen card data is prevalent in retail. The biggest problem in gambling isn’t directly related to fraud, actually, but rather to affiliate programmes, where customers make small transactions and the operators pay the affiliate fee, but then the customer never makes any subsequent transactions. The takeaway is simple: risk management strategies must be tailored to the specific industry and the specific type of fraud affecting that industry. Fighting payment fraud requires in-depth industry expertise.

What is the payments industry doing to combat the threat?

Beyond establishing targeted risk management strategies, as described above, I think more and more market players are recognising the importance of transparency within the industry. Previously, financial companies preferred not to reveal their levels of fraud or data leaks or anything that might make them appear less competent to their prospective clients. The issue with this is that time is of essence, and the longer it takes a data leak to be reported, the greater its impact will be. We’re now seeing faster reaction times and faster disclosure.

The other trend that I’ve been paying attention to is mobile. Essentially, the mobile phone has become better than a passport. It’s always with you, it uses biometrics, it identifies you as a person. Though there are a number of potential pitfalls related to mobile devices, they’re incredibly useful for identification purposes, so I think there will be a lot of work aimed at securing this device.

At ECOMMPAY, we monitor incoming changes and rising trends very closely, enabling us to prepare a timely technological response to any foreseeable risks and continue effectively fighting payment fraud.