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It is no secret that fraud remained one of the top concerns for merchants around the world in 2016. Identity theft, card-not-present fraud, false declines, and chargebacks, are just a few of the top-of-mind issues payments and fraud professionals are tracking even more carefully in 2017.
The MRC community is as committed as ever to make commerce safe, by working with merchants to improve organizational risk management practices. In pursue of this goal, the Merchant Risk Council is hosting their annual conference in Las Vegas in just a few weeks. To help you navigate the conference agenda (and save you some time), we’ve put together a list of the six can’t miss sessions at the event. 


The Sessions


The Merging of our Physical and Digital Identity
Tuesday March 14th, 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
Speaker: Filip Verley, Google & Mark Walick, Google & Dasha Cherepennikova, OWI
The current concept and understanding of the definition of a digital identity is limited. So limited, that it hinders its potential to change the way we interact with each other, with the brands we like, and with the products and services we use. But this is changing, and it is changing fast. The online economy is growing at a fast pace, and this growth demands digital identities. And it doesn’t stop there. Leveraging digital identities by making them part of your business model and including them at the core of what you do will help you deliver products and services that answer directly to your customer’s wants and needs. This is the sort of connection you can’t buy, but will deliver loyal customers, thus lowering your customer acquisition costs over time, and yielding a higher customer lifetime value. 
In this session, join a group of visionaries who, like ourselves, believe in the power of digital identities to change the way we think about business. At the end, you’ll know the difference between a physical and digital identity, you’ll understand the digital identity attributes, and you’ll learn some of the challenges that a digital identity network can solve. And, if you can’t wait until MRC to learn more, you can always register for our upcoming webinar: The Identity Economy: Evolving from Analog to Digital, live next Wednesday March 1st at 11:00am Pacific Time.
The Opportunities, Challenges, and Rewards in LATAM   
Tuesday March 14th, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM
Speaker: Philipp Bock, allpago & Jordan Navarro, Microsoft & Stuart Rowe, Symantec
Latin America is a fast growing region for e-commerce and payments. So it comes as no surprise that many organizations are considering expanding into the region. We agree LATAM offers amazing growth opportunities, however before rushing in you should pay a close attention to how e-commerce markets and payments are run there, and take it into consideration when designing your strategy. From a cultural and regulatory perspective, take this first-hand advice given by experts who have worked in LATAM-focused operations. If Latin America is on your horizon, you can’t miss this session.
We have faced some challenges along with our clients when it comes to evaluate identities in LATAM. There is little information about identities in general. Through our partnership with Neoway we have been able to establish complete coverage in Brazil and Mexico, and now looking to expand to Argentina, Colombia and Central America.
Combining Machine Learning with Human Experts for Highly Adaptable Fraud Systems   
Wednesday March 15th, 10:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Speaker: John Canfield, WePay
Machine learning was a popular tech-spec in 2016. With all the advances in the artificial intelligence and big data space, it’s no surprise that this concept made its way up the technology priority list. But even though automation is important to any efficient large-scale operation, manual review by a top fraud investigator is highly insightful and effective, although slower and more expensive. During this session, learn from the experts about building systems that integrate and leverage both technology and human expertise, for an effective and efficient solution to your fraud related dilemma. The cherry on top? The examples to be covered in this session will pay special attention to keeping your customer happy – meaning, designing fraud prevention programs that don’t cause unnecessary friction between the product and the user.
We spent many years researching how to better apply machine learning to our core data models. In September last year, we launched our own Graph Intelligence which is powered by supervised machine learning models. The results of applying these techniques, as an additional tool within our platform for our enterprise clients, resulted in further important reduction of manual reviews. Bringing higher efficiencies to the fraud team operations. Machine learning should not be taken in isolation, but as another tool in your arsenal to fight fraud. For more information about on Graph Intelligence take a look at our product unveiling during FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016.
Not So Friendly Fraud and Ways to Manage 
Wednesday March 15th, 3:45 PM – 4:30 PM
Speakers: Peter Martin, Google & Sunita Verma, Google
Friendly fraud isn’t really all that friendly when you are the victim. Some sources say that criminal fraud is behind only 10% of chargebacks, and friendly fraud in 2016 could sum up to a hefty $7 billion. Understanding the friendly fraud drivers in your business is a relevant analysis, because once you know the drivers you can work on removing the incentives; but the most important lesson that you’ll learn from this session is how to fight it: what is the process to dispute chargebacks, how to detect customers you want to blacklist, but more importantly, how to turn a friendly fraud chargeback into customer loyalty.

Chargebacks management is difficult. Period. You need to clearly identify between non-fraudulent and fraudulent chargebacks, and within the latter distinguish friendly from criminal fraud. We’ve helped clients through this maze, and as a result, we’ve learned chargeback management is not only about fraud prevention, it is also about transparency and customer support. If you need a hand with fraud prevention we have some tips that can help, click below to read more.

Digital Goods: Balancing Risk and Reward 
Thursday March 16th, 9:45 AM – 10:30 AM
Speaker: Tom Byrnes, Vesta Corporation
Some say instant gratification was the spark that lit the fire of the Digital Economy. This demand for immediate fulfillment presents a double-edge sword for merchants: great revenue opportunity, with exposure to higher risks. In this session, learn how to prepare your organization for digital operations, set up payments and fraud prevention processes, and finally get the advice you need in designing risk management models that are tailored to your specific needs and risk tolerance. All of these while remaining compliant to applicable regulations, and not harming your customer’s experience.
We started IdentityMind because the needs of the online games for better fraud prevention. The subject of selling digital goods presents challenges, when it comes to fraud prevention, that shipping goods don’t. When shipping physical goods there is time between the order is submitted to when the order is fulfilled. This period of time offers clear opportunities to evaluate orders. On the contrary, digital goods are expected to be immediately delivered, therefore the fraud evaluation has to occur in real time. The impact of high order manual review can be devastating to the business. Digital goods also may be executed in micro transactions, and many merchants choose to bundle up the payments to reduce the payment cost, introducing further challenges in the fraud prevention exercise. 

Universal Representation of a Consumer’s Identity – Is it Possible?   
Thursday March 16th, 9:45 AM – 10:30 AM
Speaker: Scott Bright, FIS Global & Richie Huffman, Equifax
Research has found that there exists a negative correlation between security and convenience: security layers add friction to transactions, therefore diminishing the customer experience, or even more, increasing the likelihood of customer abandonment. Happy, satisfied, loyal customers are worth their weight in gold, so damaging their interactions with your brand and product is a terrible idea. That said, you need to get a hold of your fraud costs before they drive your organization to the ground. It looks like you’re at a crossroads – and we think the answer lies in digital identities. We’ve all heard talks about universal identity frameworks before, mostly around the topic of inclusion. During this session, you will learn how a digital identities system plays key role in customer onboarding and account accessing, specifically around the verification and authentication processes. 
At IdentityMind we’ve been working towards this since our very beginning. We believe part of the natural evolution of the digital economy, is the switch towards a digital identity system that isn’t only working to find fraudsters and bad users (with whom you don’t want to be doing business with), but also about finding the good ones, the users that make for great customers all across their digital footprint spectrum. Our core technology, eDNA, assigns a reputation score to each digital identity that goes through our platform. Each digital identity is unique, so the data on each is aggregated so that the score is updated in real time and reflects the identity’s current behavior. The reputation score allows us to differentiate between a trusted identity and a suspicious identity, making it possible for you to make better informed decisions: applying less or more friction where necessary.
We’re always happy to interact and engage, so let us know if you are at the show. Many of us will be there… and there is always time for coffee (or a drink).
Enjoy the conference.