February 27, 2018
DJ Murphy, editor-in-chief of Card Not Present, sat down with veteran CNP fraud and risk expert, Scott Adams, keynote speaker at CNP Expo 2018. On Tuesday, May 15, Scott will be speaking about how to “level up your fraud fighting.”
Most recently, Scott was the director of Fraud and Risk at Riot Games, an international online game company with millions of users worldwide. In his years with Riot as the first head of fraud, he took the company from being fined by Visa/MasterCard to good standing in just a few months.
The online gaming industry experiences the most complex fraud methods and serves as the model for new trends that other CNP companies will see in the future. Scott’s background and hands-on work provides the forward-thinking education merchants needs when it comes to understanding the types of fraud methods their peers and others in the industry are experiencing.
CNP: You have been an influencer in the Card Not Present space for years. How have your various roles given you a platform to impact the industry at large?
Adams: My impact on the CNP world comes from a few areas. First, as a speaker, I’m often interacting and working on white papers and the latest research with many different parties in the space, including merchants, consulting firms and colleagues. Second, as a technologist, I’m always looking for new and creative ways to use technology to improve the merchant/consumer interaction, including lowering risk of fraud and other negative experiences. Third, as someone who strongly believes that shared knowledge in our community/network is our strongest weapon against the fraudsters of the world, I’m always encouraging conversations and making introductions around the CNP universe. Combine those three areas and I’m in a unique position to drive change and help CNP merchants win the fraud war via communication and technology.
CNP: How will merchants benefit from your keynote address: Level Up Your Fraud Fighting?
Adams: Merchants will benefit from my keynote in a few important ways. First, they will learn what is happening on the bleeding edge of the fraud world. My experience from Riot and continued experiences in the video game vertical allow me to see what is coming to other industries. Fraudsters tend to hit video games first, and then as we (video game merchants) start to beat them, the same fraud tactics flow down to what they perceive as easier marks. Many, if not all, of the same fraud methods used in video games, will ultimately be applicable to every other CNP merchant. Second, although I’m a technologist, I also believe in keeping things simple; too often, tech people “over-tech” a solution, which gets expensive for the merchant.
I see the world from the CEO/executive side of the coin, while also considering the tech side. I like to come up with unique methods to combat fraud but do so quickly and without huge tech investments.
In my remarks, I’ll share a few of these ideas that have worked for me in the past. This peer-to-peer aspect is what makes CNP Expo so unique from a learning standpoint. I want the merchants to leave my keynote with some actionable items they can take back to work to solve some of their fraud problems! Finally, I hope I can inspire and aid merchants in sharing their knowledge, and that I can help them, while I’m at the event and after, to connect with their fellow fraud fighters and unite in our common battle. Even if merchants are competitors in business, they need to be friends in the fight against fraud. This collaboration is the only way for CNP companies to be able to combat constantly-evolving fraud methods.
CNP: What would you say are your biggest career achievements?
Adams: I’m proud of having built Riot’s worldwide fraud/risk departments, going from ground zero to getting their chargebacks under control and getting the company to move forward with many account security initiatives and data sharing within the community. Separately, I scaled a small eBook-turned-tech-company, serving on the executive committee of the industry board of directors and helping many merchants reduce fraud while growing revenue. Finally, although outside the fraud world, receiving my Brazilian Jiujitsu Purple Belt!
CNP: What e-commerce fraud areas do you think are most important to pay attention to?
Adams: One area that I feel is important to highlight (both a personal and business concern) is online personal security, especially in light of all the data breaches that are happening and the amount of media coverage they are receiving in the last year or so. I suspect that most people are very uneducated about how to protect themselves from online threats, yet at the same time, we’ve moved as a culture to putting everything online, including sensitive information. ID theft is very easy now for a decent “hacker.” It’s not like on TV where numbers and letters stream across the screen while the guy types quickly, and they break into some secure system. It’s really about being smart and realizing that all the information you need to steal an identity is freely given online on sites like Facebook and Instagram, so you need to protect yourself as best as you can.
CNP: What type of education do we need to be instilling?
Adams: Individually, we need to be teaching people how to prevent this access. We must make people aware that all these free services aren’t free; you pay for them via the information you provide. You are the product, not the consumer. Additionally, as an individual, you can protect yourself, as I see it, in three easy ways. First, ask yourself how someone could use whatever you’re about to post online against you. Second, use two-factor authentication (Google authenticator, Facebook Code Generator, Text Message Codes, etc.) on every important account. Third, use strong passwords while not using the same password for everything.
Now, as an antifraud industry, merchants must push hard within their companies to improve account security. I’m still shocked, in the data breach environment that we live in, that banks and other industries where accounts have major value, don’t require two-factor authentication, and they often still rely on things like security questions and simple passwords that can be guessed. As an industry, we need to not only educate the consumer but also make sure we’re protecting the accounts we maintain.
CNP Expo 2018 will take place May 15-16, 2018 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla., with education sessions from May 14-17, 2018.