Fraud Prevention Solution Thirdwatch is Trending on Shopify!

ecommerce fraud prevention solution Thirdwatch from Razorpay

Fraud prevention application Thirdwatch helps E-Commerce businesses on Shopify save a lot of money on Return-to-Origin (RTO) costs especially for Cash on Delivery (COD) orders. Before we get into the details of how to install Thirdwatch and how it can be effective, allow us to explain the advantages and features of Shopify as an e-commerce business hosting platform.

A little over a decade ago, if you had told us that there was one website that garnered over 218 million buyers from 175 countries in just a year, we would’ve laughed at the sheer uncertainty. 

But, things have changed beyond imagination in the last decade. As we’re hitting the ceiling with hypercompetitive creativity, it’s important to take a step back and look at how we got here.

In this article, we’ll be speaking about how a single-player, Shopify has transformed the e-commerce industry as we know it and most importantly, how you can use the channel to supercharge your business.

What does Shopify do?

To start with, Shopify is an all-in-one platform to start, run, and grow an e-commerce business. India is a country majorly driven by small and medium businesses and for small players to grow, there needs to be a platform that allows them to run their business seamlessly. This is where Shopify steps in.

With a Shopify account, here is the multitude of things that e-commerce merchants can do:

  • Start your business journey: Find a business name, buy a domain, and create a brand with Shopify’s free tools suite.
  • Sell everywhere: Use one platform to sell products to anyone, anywhere—online with your e-commerce store, online marketplaces, and social media, and in-person with point of sale.
  • Market your business: Take the guesswork out of marketing with built-in tools that help you create, execute, and analyze campaigns on Facebook and Google.
  • Manage your operations: Use a single dashboard to manage orders, shipping, and payments anywhere you go. Gain the insights and knowledge you need to grow.

What is the Shopify App Store?

Once you’ve set up your Shopify account, it’s easy to find a ton of features and plug-ins designed to accelerate your business. Shopify’s App Store is filled with thousands of applications designed to cater to your every business need.

And that’s Thirdwatch’s entry into this article! The protagonist of this story has finally come into the limelight.

The e-commerce market in the world is growing at a rate faster than we can comprehend. With unforeseen growth comes unforeseen responsibilities. E-commerce sales worldwide are predicted to reach $632 billion by 2020!

But, do you know what’s bigger than the market itself? It’s the implications of fraud that come with it. As the trade grows, it’s only fair to assume that the online market has become a breeding ground for online fraudsters to innovate their tactics.

E-commerce fraud is one of the least talked about things for an industry so big. Most merchants assume the losses or fraud instances experienced during their stint is just “cost of doing business”. 

A closer look at e-commerce fraud

Here’s the thing– e-commerce businesses don’t have it easy, especially the small ones. In a hypercompetitive e-commerce environment, the only way to stand out is to offer exceptional customer satisfaction.

To meet with the mounting expectations of customers, businesses often don’t have a choice but to ship risky orders, in the fear of losing out on a genuine customer. This can often put a toll on their budget, as Return-To-Origin (RTO) orders take up the cost of logistics back and forth, often leading to losses. 

Here’s how e-commerce companies lose money in processing these orders:

  • Forward & reverse logistics
  • Blocked Inventory (Items stuck in transit)
  • Physical quality check and re-packaging of returned items
  • Increased probability of damage to fragile items, and hence more money spent in shipping them
  • Operations costs in processing these orders

We took the time out to check out the RTO numbers and their true impact on business. Here’s what we found– in case of COD orders, the percentage of RTO orders can be as high as 40 percent!

Imagine spending double the shipping costs for 40% of all your orders, let alone the opportunity cost on the blocked inventory and operations costs to handle them.

Read more: Is 30% RTO the Cost of Running an E-commerce Business?

How can Thirdwatch help reduce RTO costs?

Thirdwatch is a simple plug-in that helps you detect fraud orders, impulse purchases, non-deliverable addresses and flag risky transactions in real-time and finally, improve profitability. 

And what’s better? If you’re a Shopify merchant, Thirdwatch integration can be done in minutes, it’s that easy! Here are the simple steps:

Step 1: Install the Plug-in on the Shopify dashboard

Step 2: Sign up on the Thirdwatch dashboard with your account ID and password.

Step 3: Your centralized dashboard will be updated with the order status, along with actions for decision making. Start detecting fraud and saving money!

Thirdwatch runs on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to help identify fraudsters across different platforms. Machine Learning technology offers the right solution as it addresses all the challenges in preventing fraud — scale, complexity and changing patterns.

For example, by adding the price of the user’s phone device or categorizing an address as five stars or one star, we turn meaningless data (phone model) into actionable information. This increases the accuracy of the red or green flag that the machine learning models generate for every transaction.

Network effects can be harnessed by pooling in anonymized data to predict and prevent fraudulent behaviour. This de-incentivises and penalises fraudulent behaviour across the ecosystem.

Moreover, e-commerce firms will truly know their customers so that goods are delivered to a person not merely to an address.

Most importantly, RTO will no longer be just the “cost of doing business”.

Here’s what Shabaaz, Founder of Nicci SkinCare, an established online cosmetics store on the Shopify platform, had to say about Thirdwatch.

We’ve been in the business for a few years now and Return-To-Origin orders are a big problem for businesses like ours. Using Thirdwatch has helped us in dealing with incomplete addresses and in detecting impulse and fraudulent orders. Our RTO rate (significantly) reduced by 30% because of Thirdwatch and we saved over INR 1.5 lakhs monthly in shipping costs! Highly satisfied with the product 

Curious to know more about how we’re solving this for merchants? Get in touch with a Thirdwatch expert today!

Is 30% RTO the Cost of Running an E-commerce Business?

thirdwatch ecommerce return to origin fraud

It is no surprise that the Indian economy is more of a cash-driven market, especially in the e-commerce sector. Unlike the e-commerce industry in USA/Europe, COD is the forerunner in the Indian market. 

COD suits the Indian mindset and can make up to 70 percent of Indian e-commerce businesses. With smaller players, customer credibility is also in question, which can further accelerate the need to introduce COD to their business.

However, there’s a bigger problem in question when it comes to the Indian e-commerce industry– Return to Origin (RTO) costs. These RTO costs can be especially high in the case of COD orders.

What is RTO?

RTO is when orders cannot be delivered and have to be shipped back to the warehouse. This puts a significant cost burden on e-commerce firms as they lose a lot of money in shipping it back and forth.

Here’s how e-commerce companies lose money in these orders:

  • Forward & reverse logistics
  • Blocked Inventory (Items stuck in transit)
  • Physical quality check and re-packaging of returned items
  • Increased probability of damage to fragile items, and hence more money spent in shipping them
  • Operations cost in processing this order

We took time out to see what the actual numbers of RTO orders and what their share was. Here’s what we found– in case of COD orders, the percentage of RTO orders can be as high as 40 percent!

This means that at least one out of three orders were failed orders and were returned. When one-third of your orders have the potential to damage your bottom line, rather than adding value to it, it’s no doubt that the situation is worrisome.

Is there a pattern to these cancelled orders?

We took a closer look to see if there were any patterns to these orders, and if these patterns followed a Modus Operandi and we discovered a few interesting insights. Here’s what we found out:

  • Customer error (Intent is there but incomplete address, phone number, etc)
  • Orders from transitory addresses (hotels, friend’s place, etc)
  • Price-sensitive intent (Reorder because of drop in price)
  • Impulse buy but without paying (there is no downside to refusing delivery)
  • Intent to fraud (Habitual fraudsters)
  • Placing an order without any genuine intent

So, what is the solution to this?

Companies often perceive these costs as “mandatory” since there’s no proper solution set in place. Companies have little choice and fewer tools to prevent RTO — they just take it as a ‘cost of doing business’.

Some businesses also resort to static, generic solutions like the following:

  • Blocking all transactions on International credit cards
  • Not delivering to certain pin codes or cities
  • Capping the order size

But, what’s wrong with static solutions?

Well, sometimes, static solutions can do more harm than good as many genuine orders are lost in the process, not to mention customer dissatisfaction when they hit a dead end on a static solution. This can even affect customer relationships on a long-term basis. 

Solving the RTO problem by manually scanning every order does not work either due to the sheer scale of the problem and evolving nature of fraud techniques. 

With the Indian e-commerce market becoming hyper-competitive, firms need better solutions as they cannot afford to lose customers and orders. 

The way forward

Machine Learning technology offers an attractive solution as it addresses all the challenges in preventing fraud — scale, complexity and changing patterns.

  • Employing Machine Learning for fraud detection

Catching digital frauds requires us to first gather the ‘Forensic Evidence’. Every user interaction leaves behind a subtle digital forensics trail like proxy IP, device ID, email address, time to order, etc. 

Machine learning models combine hundreds of such innocuous parameters, which are seemingly unrelated, to identify the patterns that indicate fraud. These patterns are later used to zero down on customers who perform a fraud across different websites and make it to the blacklist.

  • Enriching the data

Machine learning and natural language processing are used to differentiate between real and fake address. This is only the beginning. Transaction and user data can be enriched by adding context to it.

For example, by adding the price of the user’s phone device or categorizing an address as five stars or one star, we turn meaningless data (phone model) into actionable information that increases the accuracy of the red or green flag that the machine learning models generate for every transaction.

  • Observing the user

Fraudsters are habitual in nature. They leave similar footprints on multiple sites. Network effects can be harnessed by pooling in anonymized data to predict and prevent fraudulent behaviour. This de-incentivises and penalises fraudulent behaviour across the ecosystem.

Moreover, e-commerce firms will truly know their customers so that goods are delivered to a person not merely to an address.

Most importantly, RTO will no longer be just the “cost of doing business”.

Curious to know more about how we’re solving this for merchants? Get in touch with a Thirdwatch expert today!

A Closer Look into UPI Fraud and How it’s Done

Digital transactions are the need of the hour, and with the country rushing towards a cashless economy, it’s important to stay vigilant of all the loopholes in the system. 

UPI, being one of the foundation stones of the digital economy, needs to be airtight when it comes to security. With UPI transactions hitting an all-time high this year, it’s no surprise that UPI is one of the most preferred methods of payment in recent times. 

And why wouldn’t it be?

All you need is a 4-digit PIN to authorize your transaction and the deal is done in seconds. Of course, something so awesome definitely comes with its share of liabilities– and that’s what we’re going to see in this article. 

Amid a massive spike in online banking fraud, HDFC Bank issued a warning to all online banking users. According to the alert, fraudsters are stealing money from users’ bank accounts via UPI. Hackers access users’ mobile phones remotely through a device control app called AnyDesk.

So, how do we deal with UPI fraud? How do hackers take your information? What is the best way to keep yourself safe from so many seemingly intelligent tricksters online?

Let’s begin!

#1 Types of cyber frauds

Before you stay vigilant, you must first be aware of the types of fraudulent cyber activities out there. While there are one too many types of frauds, we’ll be discussing those pertaining to UPI scamming, in this article. Here goes:

  • Phishing

Fraudsters send bogus e-mails to access sensitive information of the potential victim. Once the victim keys in their details (password or PIN) into the fraudulent site, the information is immediately passed on to the hacker for misuse.

  • Malware

Malware is one of the most common forms of cyber fraud and can be mistakenly downloaded from a fake e-mail attachment or an unsecured website. Malware is designed to extract and copy data from the infected device.

  • Money Mule

Money Mule is a more elaborate fraud where once the victim’s data is obtained, fraud rings transfer money to an intermediary account to house the loot. This account acts as one of the money mules to park money collected from different victims.

  • SIM Cloning 

SIM cloning is a recent addition that has mushroomed after the OTP-mandatory rule by banks. If a fraudster clones your SIM, he can even change the UPI PIN. The fraudster gets hold of the victim’s bank account details and ID proof to reset the PIN. 

  • Vishing

Vishing is mostly scamsters posing as bank representatives, asking questions ‘on behalf of the bank’. These individuals weave a web of lies and enquire about the victim’s personal information to extract their PIN or password. 

#2 The Execution

It’s been observed that fraudsters follow a pattern whilst executing these elaborate plans. We’ve managed to weave a step-wise timeline of how these plans are generally executed. Take a look:

Step 1

Fraudsters usually call targets to get their attention, as opposed to texting. They commonly disguise themselves as a bank representative, calling for a seemingly harmless issue.

Step 2

To make the call sound legit, they proceed to ask verification questions like your date of birth, name or mobile number.

Step 3

There is always a problem. Hackers usually use technical difficulties in the app or website to get to talk to the victim. They usually weave a false story that the victim may have to forfeit their personal information to resolve the issue.

Step 4

Once the fraudster has convinced the victim, they proceed to ask the latter to download an application on their phone. Some of the apps are AnyDesk and ScreenShare, which are available on the Google Play Store.

Step 5

While downloading AnyDesk or any similar application, it asks for the user’s privacy permission, like any regular app. But don’t be fooled, these apps can access everything on your phone.

Step 6

The fraudster will then ask the victim for a 9-digit OTP, which is generated on their phone. As soon as the victim reveals the code, the hacker will also ask to grant permission from the phone.

Step 7

When the app acquires all permissions required, the caller starts to take full control of the victim’s phone without their knowledge. After getting full access to your phone, a hacker steals passwords and begins transacting with the victim’s UPI account.

We identified other approaches, too. Fraudsters send an SMS and ask the victim to forward it on another number that they provide. After the message is successfully sent, it permits the fraudster to link the victim’s mobile number or account through UPI to their mobile. 

Fraudsters also send a ‘collect request‘ or a refund request to your Virtual Payment Address (for ex: name@bankname) on apps like Google Pay, PhonePe, etc. 

Most users authorize these requests without paying attention, and this can lead to any amount of money being collected from their account.

#3 Staying Vigilant: A Guide

Scamsters aren’t inevitable; they can, of course, be avoided by taking some essential precautions. These aren’t just to keep you away from fraud; these are also fundamental things to keep in mind to keep all your information safe in the era of the Internet.

  • Beware of engaging with fraudsters

As vague as it sounds, the best way to protect yourself from fraudsters is to stay away from engaging with them. Your bank will never call to discuss your sensitive information; if you receive any call asking you to do the same, that’s a red flag right there.

You can check for the authenticity of unknown numbers with apps like Truecaller, which has a global database of numbers flagged by users.

  • Take extra precaution while requesting/accepting requests

Fraudsters take advantage of the “request money” feature on apps like Google Pay, PhonePe, BHIM, etc.  Imposters express interest in buying a product advertised on various online platforms and engage with the seller on a phone call.

They make the seller of the product to transfer the money using UPI apps’ ‘request money’ option. A small careless click can sometimes cost you thousands. Remember, receiving money requires no PIN.

  • Pay attention to SPAM warnings on your UPI app

UPI apps like Google Pay and PhonePe generally gives users a spam warning if they’re receiving a request from an unknown account. Do keep an eye out for such statements, and if you do spot any such suspicious accounts, make sure to report as spam!

  • Be wary of malicious apps

Frauds have also been found using fake mobile apps to cheat people. They create an app that is similar to the original bank app and submit it on the Google Play Store.

When a customer accidentally downloads and installs the fake app on his/her mobile phone and gives necessary permissions, then the app starts sending out sensitive data to enable fraudsters to withdraw money from the victim’s account.

Several fake apps like Modi Bhim, Bhim Modi App, BHIM Payment-UPI Guide, BHIM Banking Guide, Modi ka Bhim, etc. have been reported to have stolen personal data of customers in the name of providing some valuable banking service.

  • Follow security practices

Make sure that you don’t reveal your PIN to strangers under any circumstances. Also, make sure to protect your UPI apps with biometric recognition software. This way, hackers cannot misuse your account. It’s also recommended that you install anti-virus software to keep an eye out for other malicious software. 

  • Never open e-mails without checking their authenticity

E-mails are one of the easiest ways to trick a user into downloading Malware and subsequently obtaining their information. Make sure to always scan your e-mails for viruses/Malware.

  • Keep a check, every once in a while

Once in a few months, sift through your account activity to check for any suspicious behaviour on your account. We often forget to keep track and may miss a few red flags along the way. It’s always best to do a thorough check once in a few months. If you notice any unusual pattern, make sure to alert the bank right away.

  • Avoid using open Wi-Fi

Using an open Wi-Fi is never a good idea as it may give the hacker a good chance to access everything that’s on your device. Instead, always check if the Wi-Fi is trustworthy before connecting to it.

  • Keep track of all your bank messages

Take a closer look when you receive messages from your bank. Know the difference between a password, PIN and an OTP and carefully examine the message for inconsistencies to stay safe. Keep track of all your bank messages to make sure you’re aware of all the transactions to and from your account.

While no application is entirely fool-proof, the only way to stay safe is to be wary of fraudsters who can go to any level to fool you. In any case, make sure to contact your bank if you think something’s not right. 

We’ll see you next time with more useful tips on keeping your money safe!  

Also read: IPL & World Cup Contribute to 15% of Digital Payments