Marketplace Risk Management Conference 2023 Review

Written by Jen McKeeman

25 May 2023

My first time attending Marketplace Risk’s San Francisco conference, I knew it would be full of interesting sessions from industry experts and technical leaders based on my experience of the Global Summit in London last October. I wasn’t disappointed. A full 2-day schedule of talks on topics ranging from innovative insurance solutions (Hub International) for marketplaces, to real time alerts (Samdesk) keeping delivery drivers safe (DoorDash) and trust & safety concerns for dating apps (eHarmony).

Here are my key takeaways:


1: The importance of T&S early in the process

A common theme concerning the challenge Trust & Safety teams often face is highlighting the need to build in safety mechanisms early in the process - something that’s easier (and cheaper) to implement early rather than having to fix later. Issues causing harm to customers and reputational damage can mean your shot at building trust is gone if this is overlooked. 


2: Get the C-suite on board

It’s clear that getting buy-in from someone in the C-suite is key. A trusted user experience is critical to all marketplaces so it’s essential the decision makers understand the role and value of the Trust & Safety team to the business. It’s common for teams to work in their own silos, focused on their own metrics. However, this presents a challenge when trying to achieve a holistic goal, like delivering a trusted user experience. 


3: Your data holds the answers

Leveraging data was a common theme across the majority of sessions I attended. All businesses have access to data. Looking at this data in isolation only tells you part of the story and doesn’t help you understand what’s needed to mitigate risk in the bigger picture. What data are you collecting? How is this data being used? From the onboarding process to interactions with customer service teams, data is collected throughout the entire user journey. Using continual monitoring and behavioural analysis to leverage this data enables you to gain insights into what’s happening on your platform and see where anomalies lie. For example, ATOs are a particular type of fraud that can be easy to detect if you’ve the right data.


4: Collaborate and engage with partners

It’s important to find avenues to collaborate with partners to draw on expertise where it’s needed, from content moderation (Checkstep) to pentesting ( Doing so allows them to focus on what they’re good at and maximise their efforts in the fight against fraud. Fraudsters collaborate well with one another - they share information and intelligence to gain a competitive advantage, so marketplaces need to use all the expertise they’ve got available too!


5: Covid created an upturn in online fraud

It’s no surprise that online fraud is more prevalent since the pandemic and fraudsters are being bolder and taking greater risks. The further consumer shift to online necessitated by Covid-19 lockdowns, meant that new scams emerged to exploit loopholes and newly implemented processes that had limited testing time. Promotion abuse, such as customers opening multiple UberEats accounts to eat for free, or unhelpfully named ‘friendly fraud’ where customers falsely claim they haven’t received their food, have become a common type of fraudulent activity on food delivery sites. More complex with multiple parties involved, this type of fraud is harder to catch than traditional fraud with many customers not seeing the harm in it.


6: Educate your customers

One of the key things Trust & Safety teams can do is to continually educate their customers. AI tools make it easier for people to be duped or scammed. So, it’s important for platform users to be aware of the risks and understand why platform policies and guidelines exist and should be adhered to. It used to be the case that platform owners didn’t want users to know there could be fraud on their platforms but now they should make users aware they can report suspicious or harmful behaviours to maintain their safety online.


7: Generative AI is going to be huge

Whether you’re a peer-to-peer marketplace (Turo), reviews platform (Trustpilot) or creative spaces booking site (tutti), you’ll be thinking about how you can leverage generative AI for a better user experience or increased productivity. If you’re on a Trust & Safety team, you’ll likely be thinking about how bad actors will use it for nefarious purposes on your platform. Generative AI tools give fraudsters the ability to scale their scams at an unbelievable rate. Being aware of this is the first step to mitigating against the emerging threat and putting processes in place (e.g. friction, continual monitoring) to protect your customers. 

Looking forward to next time

So, if you’re considering whether you should attend the next Marketplace Risk event, I would highly recommend it. Jeremy Gottschalk and his team have created a community of like-minded professionals keen to share knowledge and experience to make the internet a safer place. Our Pasabi team has come away ready to tackle the fraud challenges ahead!