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Garmin stands out as one of our customers in the forefront in identifying and stopping cross-border fraud, as they use Identity Check in North America, Europe, and Australia and review cross-border transactions on a daily basis. We recently spoke with them to learn what trends they are seeing and how they deal with fraud.

Garmin is a world leader in GPS-based consumer electronics with 60 offices around the world. Most of their products are sold through distributors; however, Garmin operates a web shop from which consumers can purchase their goods directly. The Garmin Europe team—based in Southampton, England—manages web sales for all of Europe.

Simon Yorath leads the European web finance team as part of his role as EMEA Management Accountant—a position he has held for four years.

What are the challenges that you face with cross-border transactions, especially as Garmin ships their products to 17 European countries?

Simon Yorath (SY): Customer behavior indicative of fraud varies from country to country, which adds to the complexity of assessing the risk on any given transaction. Some countries—even particular cities—carry a greater risk of fraud than others, so it takes time for new team members to learn effective fraud management.

The language barrier can also cause issues with cross-border sales. While we have local customer support teams in most of our established markets, translating automated messages into a language appropriate for the customer is difficult. Unfortunately, many European customers assume an email written in English (instead of their native language) is fraudulent without taking the time to read it.

When Garmin launches in a new market, what do you do to prepare your team for fraud that you might see in that market?

SY: Very little, to be honest. Our automated fraud rules are applied globally. Any adjustments for specific locales or products are usually made on a reactive basis, so we don’t tend to put a lot of resources into this.

How has Whitepages Pro’s Identity Check assisted your team in reviewing international orders?

SY: Identifying proxy IPs and auto-generated email addresses have been particularly useful, as both are strong indicators of fraud—this information was previously unavailable to us.
Identity Check brings lots of useful information together in one place, which enables us to confidently assess the risk on each transaction considerably faster than before. For a small team like mine, this time saving is invaluable!

What is something new that fraudsters are starting to do or have recently started doing to avoid being caught by manual review agents? And what data do you need to combat this new trend?

Melinda Sears, who has worked for Garmin Finance for over 19 years and has been on the Fraud team for several years and leads their global fraud team also contributed to this answer.

One thing we have seen in the US and some other countries is fraudsters using valid cards and the real customers address information. They will then have the UPS and FedEx carriers hold the package for pickup. Carriers are supposed to be checking ID’s when these packages are picked up; however, they often don’t check.

We are working with the carriers in these situations to try to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, with these types of situations, all the order/credit card information is correct and matches so there aren’t any alerts that this is a fraudulent order. The only recourse here is hoping that the carriers are responsible for verifying the customer at time of order pickup.

SY: While we have not observed the above issue specifically, European fraudsters seem to focus on trying to work around our automated fraud checks and avoid further scrutiny. This typically involves ordering lower value items and setting up multiple customer accounts to place several orders.

There are, however, a small but persistent number of chargebacks on orders that have been reviewed for fraud but released. My team feels that any additional information—particularly extra information about the shipping address and recorded resident of an order—would be useful in keeping these numbers down.

See how Whitepages Pro helps Garmin fight cross-border fraud in this success story.

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