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Online Marketplace Fraud – New Opportunities for Mischief

By Julian Wong July 12, 2016

Photo of Julian Wong

about Julian Wong
Julian is the VP of Customer Success at DataVisor. A proven leader in the realm of trust and safety, Julian developed scalable systems and teams for mitigating fraud and abuse at Indiegogo, Etsy and Upwork. Julian also led Google’s engineering team responsible for building algorithms to prevent fraud on its ad platform.

mobile access to online marketplace fraud

Whether you need to buy something, get a ride, sleep somewhere, or just get someone else’s perspective on where to eat dinner, there are no shortage of online marketplace options. The explosion of the peer-to-peer and sharing economies provide more than just new opportunities for you, it also creates a fertile ground for fraudsters to send spam, develop fake businesses or pursue new ways and methods to steal your money, data, or just be up to no good.

One of the most successful ways fraudsters are skirting detection is to appear as legitimate online marketplace users. If a user appears legitimate, a company is less likely to take action, quarantine, or delete a user for fear of alienating real users, the lifeblood of these businesses. There are a few techniques fraudsters deploy to appear as “just another user” before doing any damage, for example:

  • Content Scraping:  Attackers steal photos and content/reviews from other 3rd party sites to appear authentic to content security measures
  • Friending:  Bad guys attempt to accumulate numerous friends within the online marketplace platform by sending friend requests to other fraudulent accounts and spamming good users.
  • Sleeper Cell Accounts:  Fraudsters create and incubate fake accounts for lengthy periods of time to evade rules on account age
  • Anonymous Proxies: Attack campaigns sign up for accounts in one country, and then operate in another country
  • Cloud-Hosting Services:  Utilize cloud services (such as AWS) to create fake user accounts with unique IP addresses to hide their tracks from IP blacklists and rules-based systems

As the fraud landscape continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, like the examples above, how are these online marketplaces trying to tackle on these type of fraudsters? Let’s ask them! On Thursday, we’ve pulled together a panel of industry experts to do just that.

Our panel includes:

  • Adelin Cai – Head of Policy, Pinterest
  • Eliza Jacobs – Community Policy Manager, Airbnb
  • Michael Pezely – Sr. Manager, Trust Technology, OfferUp
  • Noam Naveh – Independent Consultant on Online Payment & Identity Fraud Prevention, FraudStrategy.com
  • Phillip Cardenas – Head of Global Trust and Safety, Uber
  • Sami Sharaiha – Head of Risk and Payments, TripAdvisor

These folks will be talking about their experiences navigating risks, safety and policy in the online marketplace as well as their challenges, what is working for them, and what is not. We’ll be sure to post a blog after with key takeaways from the discussion and hopefully address some of the issues you may be facing in your own business. Interested in being invited to future events? Join our Trust & Safety Meetup on LinkedIn or feel free to reach out to us directly here.


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