eCommerce Marketplaces face a unique threat: Marketplace Seller Fraud – a saboteur of shopper trust. Through empowering sellers to transact directly with shoppers, a direct stream is created that is greatly beneficial to both parties. However, that same stream can easily become tarnished by fraud, because where there is a lack of robust verification, anybody and everybody can register as a seller.

Fraudulent activities discredit the eCommerce business, an innocent middleman, while it is in fact the seller that inflicts the damage. The seller gets away with murder, the shopper is defrauded, and the eCommerce business suffers severe reputational damage. The result is that the shopper’s trust is broken and future business is lost.

To regain the trust of a shopper defrauded by a seller on a marketplace platform is very difficult, which is why preventing fraudulent activities is advised above trying to pick up the pieces after the fact.

Seller scams in action

Cases of fraudulent vendors selling fictitious goods to unsuspecting shoppers have escalated globally along with the online marketplace industry’s growth. The larger the industry, the higher the risk of fraud, since the fraudster’s goal is to monetize their exploits to the maximum.

The most popular trend is fraudsters passing the registration process undetected, imitating the profiles of reputable sellers, punting goods to their shoppers, and deleting their profiles once the non-existing product has been bought and revenues paid out. This scam leaves the shopper without the item they purchased, and without a means to contact the seller, since false contact details would have been supplied. The marketplace platform is left to deal with the disgruntled shopper. Even if a refund is granted, the bitter taste remains.

Lack of robust verification

Some marketplaces don’t have seller verification processes in place at all. Some do, yet they rely on manual processes. In such instances, upon registering, sellers are requested to upload ID documents and provide all kinds of data for the purpose of internal vetting. The manual internal vetting process however takes time, manpower, additional costs and unnecessary efforts, but most concerning of all, it fails to detect advanced fraudsters. Fake IDs and forged documents need to be digitally authenticated as they can easily pass a “naked-eye-check”. The digital route offers a robust solution.

The best solutions for safe seller registration

Digital, real-time, and streamlined seller verification is the non-negotiable solution if the goal is to build a trusted online shopping platform that proactively expels fraudsters before they have the opportunity to reap havoc. Trusted sellers equate to safer shoppers.

There are software solutions readily available that are developed to empower eCommerce businesses to effectively evaluate their sellers.

Identity Verification Services (IVS) with Facial Verification and Liveness Detection Technology enables remote online verification of a seller’s identity against legitimate data stored at Home Affairs. It entails a single step: Sellers are required to take a selfie video and hit submit. In the back-end, the face map generated from the selfie video is compared to the seller’s photo stored at Home Affairs, and a face match score is calculated. Should that score be sufficient for a verification pass, the seller can be trusted, and continue to register. Should the match fail, the seller will be flagged as being suspicious.

An additional feature that takes place in the back-end includes Contact Verification (CVS) and Bank Account Verification Services (AVS). Contact verification verifies phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses in real-time, providing guarantees that the seller is reachable through a variety of channels. Banking Details Verification Services are used to match the seller’s bank details to a bank account that exists at an institution. This ensures that the seller’s bank details for payouts are valid.

Not to frustrate legitimate sellers…

Ramping up the security of your online seller onboarding journey should not ramp up the friction. Onboarding should effectively balance security with convenience as not to compromise legitimate sellers. This is why real-time fraud detection, made possible through digitised and automated software integrations, offer the best solution to date.

Real-time verification methods reduce the time and effort associated with manual vetting. Innocent sellers can start selling within minutes. Each software feature can be plugged into existing process flows where needed, and so, the original registration journey need not be disrupted at all. The only disruption guaranteed is that of the fraudster’s devious plans to con shoppers. Verified sellers, safe shoppers and reputable marketplaces, hereby, become synonymous.