Monday, August 24, 2009

There's a kind of hush

Yes, it's gaining momentum. TechCrunch posted today of an acquisition in the field of micropayments for gaming. We're at the verge of an explosion - the mass proliferation of startups and technology companies trying to get a share of this growing industry. They're goig to face a lot of challenges (beyond fraud - even managing a payments or dispute resoluion operation is costly), but I'm personally interested, obviously, in the rise of marketplaces.

Yes, buying virtual credit using a stolen credit card gets you... virtual credit. That you can later find a way to sell, that's true, but marketplaces are such an ever-green environment for fraudsters to operate, since they let you exit funds so much easier. And these guys, no doubt, are going to be a lot more creative and tech-savvy - in a non-tangible, rapid environement.

Why is this a problem? Because most risk controls today rely of the item being shipped (to a real address, that matces the billing address of the card, and also matches at the bank). They also rely on the ability to delay shipment when yuo suspect someting. Don't buy tales about sophisticated "dynamic risk scores", I tell you, it's all AVS and some additional blacklists. And at this point exactly, in these quick, electronic transactions with no account history, statistical models and standard risk controls are failing. Let the arms race begin.

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