Art Malkovich
CEO and co-founder of Onilab
Table of contents

Trust is everything in eCommerce.

With customers giving you critical information, including their personal details, credit card numbers, addresses, etc., your task is to protect them. Unfortunately, con artists always strive to steal this data, undermining your reputation and future sales.

Many online retailers overlook decent protection. They may have implemented some best practices someday but stopped doing it regularly. As a result, we see astonishing examples of large online stores getting into the trap of cunning hackers. The thing is that they’re constantly learning to overcome existing security measures. You need a reliable solution that gets smarter with time and provides new ways to lock the information in a safe space.

Artificial intelligence is just the thing you need. Integrated into fraud detection tools, AI can spot peculiar transactions, behaviors, location inconsistencies, and even typing patterns. AI in fraud detection works equally well and fast with large databases, supporting the growing number of eCommerce transactions. It doesn’t need rest, makes fewer mistakes with time, and enhances your image. And the best part? AI constantly evolves. That’s what non-AI tools can’t offer.

In this article, we’ll zero in on fraud detection AI. Let’s see how it can revolutionize your eCommerce business.

Understanding eCommerce Fraud: Trends and Types

Online stores are prime targets for fraudsters due to the high volume of transactions, which limits the attention business owners can give to each detail, increasing opportunities for fraud.

These people can also choose from various payment methods. Add here the anonymity and physical distance between the victim and the fraudster. And voila—we observe a growing number of data breach cases.

Global eCommerce fraud is on the rise. According to statistics provided by Mastercard, losses related to it they have reached $41 billion in 2022 and $48 billion in 2023.

North America leads in fraudulent transaction value, accounting for over 42% of global eCommerce fraud, while Europe, particularly Germany and France, also faces significant risks.

Latin America reports about 20% of eCommerce revenue lost to fraud, with 3.7% of orders being illegal. These alarming figures underscore the critical need for advanced fraud detection solutions, leveraging AI, machine learning, and behavioral analysis to combat this growing threat.

The company also highlights the following eCommerce fraud trends:

  • Promo abuse, that is, the exploitation of promotional incentives (discount codes, loyalty rewards, and other bonuses);
  • Friendly fraud, or chargeback fraud, involving consumers disputing legitimate charges despite the transaction being valid and authorized;
  • Account takeover (ATO) increase, where fraudsters access and misuse consumers’ accounts;
  • Triangulation fraud, which entails setting up fake marketplaces to capture payment details for unauthorized transactions;
  • The growing use of AI by criminals to develop more sophisticated techniques.

As such, neglecting AI in eCommerce fraud detection is a huge mistake. Here are the types of eCommerce fraud AI can detect:

  • Credit card fraud: When stolen card information is used to make unauthorized purchases);
  • Fake account creation: sing real people’s identities to carry out scams or buy goods with their credit card details
  • Account takeover: Gaining access to legitimate user accounts to make unauthorized purchases or steal sensitive data.
  • Credential stuffing: Using leaked usernames and passwords to break into accounts across multiple platforms.

The Evolution of Fraud Detection: From Manual to AI-Powered Techniques

Fraud detection emerged as a manual endeavor. Gathering around spreadsheets, teams combed through transaction records to identify anomalies. This process was marked with the following characteristics:

  • Time-consuming;
  • Labor-intensive;
  • Prone to human error
  • Reactive rather than proactive

As such, it was hard to keep up with fraudsters who were one step ahead. As eCommerce began to boom, it became clear that online retailers needed more complex solutions. As technology evolved, tools like Salesforce CRM Analytics revolutionized this process, shifting from manual spreadsheets to advanced, data-driven analysis. That’s where rule-based systems appeared. These technology-driven tools were programmed to flag transactions that met certain criteria (e.g., transactions over a specific amount or from certain geographic locations). It was a groundbreaking alternative to manual checks.

Yet, these systems still lacked nuance and adaptability. That’s how AI found its application in this sphere. The use of AI in fraud detection allowed merchants to analyze vast amounts of data at lightning speed. AI-powered fraud detection systems rely on complex algorithms, consider a multitude of factors, and provide a much more accurate and dynamic method of detecting fraud.

How is AI used in fraud detection today? AI systems get new data, learn from existing fraud tactics, and predict what inconsistency may be potentially suspicious.

How AI-Driven Fraud Detection Works

Image credit: Unsplash

AI-based fraud detection leverages machine learning to analyze transactions and identify anomalies with minimal human intervention, making the process more autonomous and effective. That’s what makes the technology more autonomous, giving it the freedom to make decisions on its own, whether the customer behavior is normal or unlawful.

Take anomaly detection as an example. Fraud detection using AI involves locating transactions that substantially deviate from accepted norms. A customer may show a specific buying pattern, for example, making small, infrequent purchases. Once they make a high-value purchase, the system may raise a red flag. Other factors the system will take into account are customer history, location, and device used.

AI-based fraud detection also leverages predictive analytics based on past activities. It lets the system anticipate new fraud tactics before they become widely used. All these techniques work together to create a complex defense system where legitimate customers are allowed to shop seamlessly, and criminals are blocked right from the first steps.

Advanced AI Techniques in Fraud Detection

The above-mentioned anomaly detection, behavior analysis, and predictive analytics are the backbone of fraud detection with AI. Yet, there are cutting-edge technologies like deep learning and neural networks. They improve the way that robots comprehend, learn, and make predictions.

Deep learning uses multiple-layered neural networks—hence the term “deep”—to process data in intricate, nuanced ways. It draws inspiration from the composition and operations of the human brain. This makes it possible to identify fraudulent patterns and anomalies that are too subtle to be picked up by traditional algorithms.

Neural networks are very good at finding correlations in large datasets because they comprise of interconnected nodes that simulate neural connections. When used for fraud detection, they concurrently examine thousands of transaction attributes, providing previously unheard-of accuracy in distinguishing between authentic and fraudulent activities. This works especially well in eCommerce because there is a wealth of complex transaction data there.

AI Fraud Detection Examples

Rakuten France

Screenshot taken on the official Rakuten France website

One of the biggest names in French eCommerce, Rakuten France, was constantly under attack by very intelligent bots. These automated applications were a significant security risk. They were annoying. Rakuten’s staff put all their effort into combating them. As a result of their debates, the idea to put AI-based solutions into practice emerged. It was a turning point that allowed its technical staff to work on core projects while the AI-powered fraud detection system prevented attacks in real-time.


Screenshot taken on the official BlaBlaCar website

It was critical for BlaBlaCar, the largest carpooling community in the world, to keep its extensive database safe from scammers. The difficulty was in protecting this data mine without compromising the app’s functionality or user experience. It addressed an agency that didn’t need personal information. As a result, there was no maintenance required, and BlaBlaCar’s user accounts were safe.

Real-World Benefits of AI in eCommerce Fraud Prevention

What does it mean for a business to introduce AI fraud detection? We already understand that it provides greater security. Security means trust. Trust entails more sales as customers don’t have to think twice whether to buy from you or not. Here are some more benefits of AI-driven fraud detection and prevention:

  • Enhancing user experience: Utilizing AI-powered systems to reduce friction. Legitimate transactions are processed smoothly and swiftly, contributing to user satisfaction with fast service.

  • Real-time detection and ongoing adaptation: AI systems continuously improve and react immediately, eliminating delays in detecting fraud. For eCommerce businesses, it means saving themselves from significant financial losses.

  • Minimizing false positives: Flagging legitimate transactions as fraudulent. AI-driven systems demonstrate fewer false positives, preventing shoppers from having their transactions declined.

  • Harnessing big data: Allowing for optimizing security strategies based on extensive and complex eCommerce datasets.

Implementing AI Fraud Detection in eCommerce Platforms

How can you integrate fraud detection AI into your online store? Let’s break down the process into manageable steps, from setting the foundation to adapting to new challenges.

Step 1: Assessing the Needs and Scope

The first step is examining your current system and how it integrates with other tools. Collaborate with your IT staff or partner agency to determine what and how you can introduce without disrupting your operations. For example, your chosen solution may be too aggressive at identifying malicious attempts and creating false positives, spoiling the customer experience.

Analyze your platform’s transaction history. Are there any trends, like a high rate of chargebacks in a particular product category or from specific geographic regions? Next, evaluate the volume and complexity of your transactions. Depending on the business size, you may need either a straightforward, cost-effective AI solution or a more sophisticated system.

Step 2: Choosing the Right AI Solution

Once you’ve identified your needs, you can choose a suitable AI solution. Here is what you should look for when exploring AI tools for fraud detection:

  • real-time transaction monitoring;
  • behavioral analytics;
  • predictive risk assessment;
  • scalability support;
  • compatibility with your CMS, payment gateways, and CRM.

One of the challenges you may encounter here is when the tool creates too many unnecessary steps to verify a customer. When the checkout process is too long, and the user has to fill in CAPTCHA fields and provide other valuable information, you may end up losing a potential buyer.

To minimize these risks, run the software in a test environment. Check it on a portion of your transactions to evaluate its efficacy, simplicity of integration, and influence on customer experience. This trial run can provide critical insights and assist in fine-tuning the system before fully implementing the tool.

Step 3: Integration

After deciding on a solution, connect it to your online storefront. The technological considerations of this procedure include adjusting settings to match your transaction processes and integrating APIs (application programming interface). Among other technical aspects you may need to deal with are as follows:

  • endpoint configurations;
  • data encryption;
  • secure data transmission protocols.

Configuring the AI tool involves setting parameters for the AI system to analyze and respond to transaction data. Be precise. Make sure the system identifies potential fraud without hindering legitimate customer transactions. To set the parameters, consider your business operations, customer profiles, and fraud risk levels.

Then, check how the AI system works with different components of your eCommerce platform, especially the payment gateways. Customer data handling by the AI system should be tested as well. It is crucial to ensure that the AI system respects and preserves the integrity of client data in light of the growing concerns over data privacy and compliance with laws like the CCPA and GDPR.

Step 4: AI-Based Identity Verification

AI-based identity verification is a strategy that can strengthen your fraud prevention strategy even more. Examples include facial recognition, voice detection, and pattern analysis. So, AI can identify how the customer image matches their official document, whether the voice belongs to a real person, or compare the current purchase with usual transaction behaviors. These techniques lower the risk of identity theft and account takeover fraud.

Step 5: Training and Continuous Learning

Training your team may seem like an unneeded step. Yet, you can’t rely on technology to work smoothly on its own. You need people to properly configure and manage it and act upon its outcomes.

As such, organize training sessions and webinars and share educational materials. Explain how to leverage AI, the tool’s features, and how to interpret its findings. It would be great if you could incorporate your successful case when the system blocked a malicious attempt and guide your team through the whole process.

Keep in mind that AI tools evolve, so your materials may get outdated. Refresh them to avoid misunderstandings. Plus, establish communication channels with your colleagues. Collect their feedback on the tool and ask whether customers face specific issues connected to fraud detection.

Identify metrics to measure the AI system’s performance, accuracy, and efficiency. These could be the number of transactions reviewed, the number of fraudulent transactions detected, and the rate of false positives.

Step 6: Enhancing Customer Service

AI helps eCommerce businesses not only protect data but also improve customer service, for example, by analyzing customer behavior and personalizing product recommendations. Considering what a person is interested in, the system can show relevant offers.

AI-powered chatbots are another way to improve customer experience. With immediate assistance, these bots can resolve consumer problems, from order tracking to product information inquiries.

AI can also help with customer care by automating replies to your shoppers. Suppose there is a delay in order processing. Having spotted this issue, the system may send a notification to the corresponding customer explaining the problem and suggesting a new timeframe. Proactive communication can lower the number of inquiring calls and emails and avoid consumer irritation.

Preserve the human touch when leveraging automated responses. For instance, your customer service representative may step in when the issue is complex or sensitive and requires personal attention.

Introducing feedback collection may show you how shoppers rate their experience with chatbots or recommendation engines. Use this information to employ AI in another way.

The Future of AI in Fraud Detection

As we’ve seen in the year 2023, companies heavily invest in developing AI systems. We uncover more and more applications of AI, and fraud detection is no exception. Now, the question “Can AI detect fraud?” is no longer debatable; it’s a fact.

In the future, we can expect to see more advanced predictive capabilities. For example, AI can use economic conditions to forecast whether certain fraudulent activities in one region could be replicated in another. We are likely to see a breakthrough in deep learning, enabling AI systems to make even more difficult judgments with little help from humans.

However, it’s crucial to remember ethical considerations and data privacy. AI tools store and learn from information from vast datasets. So, their providers should leverage this data responsibly. User privacy is why you introduced AI fraud detection in the first place.

You should also be careful with the risk of bias in AI systems. AI tools may make discriminatory fraud detection judgments if they are trained on biased data sets. The solution is to utilize unbiased data sets and clean them from time to time.

There are possible hazards associated with the growing reliance on AI, including over-dependence. Businesses risk missing the need for human oversight—which is essential for identifying abnormalities that AI might miss—if they depend too much on AI. Ensure your human specialists routinely check the correctness and fairness of AI choices. To make sure the AI system stays morally and effectively sound, regular audits and updates are necessary.

Secure the Future, Embrace AI for Fraud Protection

Cyber threats become more versatile. Traditional protection measures, such as static web application firewalls (WAFs) or basic CAPTCHA systems, may not provide the needed level of security. Add here the number of orders eCommerce companies have to process and the speed at which they happen. That’s where AI comes in to detect fraudulent activity and save your business reputation.

AI, coupled with ML and other technologies, enables online retailers to counteract these evolving threats effectively. Explore the existing tools, ensure their compatibility with your eCommerce platform, and stay abreast of emerging trends and software updates. We can assure you that your investment in fraud detection with AI will undoubtedly pay off.


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