September 18, 2003, 12:00 AM

PC Mall trims fraudulent transactions to less than 1% with CyberSource tool

CyberSource is part of a three-part order-scrubbing system that targets fraud where PC Mall sees it attempted most: online.

PC Mall Inc. has reduced the rate of fraudulent transactions to well under 1% of sales and thwarted attempts at fraud reaching into the millions of dollars with the help of CyberSource Corp.’s Advanced Fraud Screen Enhanced by Visa screening tool, the company’s director of credit, Kenneth Sayers, tells Internet Retailer.

Sales at multi-channel retailer PC Mall are about $863 million a year from telemarketing, catalogs and a collection of five web sites that target customer segments ranging from the individual consumer at home to large organizations seeking computer and consumer electronic equipment on an enterprise scale. The company’s largest area of attempted fraud is in the online channel, and within the individual buyer segment, partially due to “perceived anonymity” online among fraudsters, says Sayers.

That perception collides with reality, says Sayers, who points out that many who attempt fraud don’t realize, for example, that all order information goes into a central database where obvious attempts to disguise fraudulent orders – entering multiple orders with the same name but a different ship-to address, for example – are easily picked out.

The CyberSource tool has become the first line of defense in PC Mall’s 3-part system of “scrubbing” orders to detect fraud. The tool scores every online order and assigns it a score based on how information in the order fares against a number of automated tests designed to identify discrepancies and rate risk. The orders are scored within seconds after they are entered. Those with scores that fall outside of parameters set by PC Mall are checked against a negative database the company maintains on fraudulent transactions and instances of attempted fraud. An in-house autorelease program written by the company provides a third layer of security checks on any orders that remain in question.

Sayers says the CyberSource tool complements and strengthens both PC Mall’s own negative database and its internally-written autorelease program. “We had the negative database in place before using CyberSource, but it wasn’t as robust as we wanted it to be,” he says. “And before, we were doing this processing manually. Adding CyberSource and then using the CyberSource scores as part of writing our autorelease program has helped us make some tremendous inroads on fraud.”

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