Preventing fraud - Interview With a ClearSale Fraud Analyst in Mexico

Alejandra Celaya Landin is a ClearSale fraud analyst who is committed to detecting fraud patterns for her clients and who analyzes risk factors to stop e-commerce merchants from authorizing fraudulent orders and rejecting legitimate transactions.

Before joining ClearSale, Alejandra spent seven years in fraud prevention and three years in money laundering prevention. We want our readers to learn more from her about e-commerce fraud in Mexico from an analyst’s perspective. Here’s what she had to say.

Q: How is e-commerce fraud in Mexico different from that in the United States?

Alejandra: In my opinion, the biggest difference between fraud in Mexico and in the United States is the speed at which fraud changes. In Mexico, fraud is very dynamic and tends to grow at the same speed as e-commerce. Fraudsters are always innovating and looking for new ways to defraud customers and businesses, and the way merchants do business in Mexico makes that easier. Here, the information required for customers to make an electronic purchase is minimal and doesn’t need to be verifiable. For example, Mexican consumers can have as many cellphone numbers as they want without having to register them under their name. So if merchants try to analyze purchase orders for fraud by looking at a customer’s cell phone number, they’ll find it’s almost impossible.

Q: How is fraud in Mexico similar to fraud in the United States?

Alejandra: The biggest similarity in fraud — and it’s not just between Mexico and the United States, but among countries worldwide — is that fraudsters are looking for the products that are easy to sell, easy to ship, are in demand and sell at a high price point (translating into a good profit for the fraudster). Electronics (like smartphones, flat-screen televisions, consoles and laptops) and designer clothing and jewelry are all on a fraudster’s list to purchase.

Q: What are the most common fraud indicators you see when analyzing transactions in Mexico?

Alejandra: The indicator I see the most is with the fraudster’s name. Either fraudsters don’t include their second last name, or they use a very common last name, like Hernández, González or García.

Another telltale indicator is the email address the “customer” uses. In cases of fraud, the email has often been recently created and has a very similar composition. The fraudster wants the email to look authentic, so they often reuse the same pattern, like the name of the supposed customer plus numbers (

Other signs of fraudulent transactions include:

  • The purchased items are high-risk products (e.g., electronics, watches, sneakers).
  • The fraudster moves from browsing to buying very fast and the items and amounts change.
  • The delivery address is located in high-risk areas or areas that don’t even exist.
  • There is a lack of purchase history.
  • Customer data changes from one order to another.
  • The IP address of the device used to place the order is in a different state from the billing and delivery address.

Q: What do you think surprises U.S. merchants the most about selling in Mexico?

Alejandra: Without a doubt, it’s the volume of fraud and the speed with which the cybercriminal performs the fraud. When U.S. merchants begin marketing their products in Mexico, they’re often surprised at how many orders are rejected. At first, they think their fraud prevention service is just being overcautious. But then they realize those transactions are being rejected because they really are fraudulent.

Q: Security-wise, what should merchants do more of when they sell in Mexico?

Alejandra: They should definitely increase the security measures in their apps and websites, and they should also implement a good fraud prevention service.

Q: What should they do less of?

Alejandra: Unfortunately, merchants selling in Mexico must lower their expectations about their rejection levels. Most merchants will find their rejection levels from high-risk transactions in Mexico are going to be higher than those they experience when selling in the United States. And as sales levels rise, so will the number of fraud attempts.

That means merchants also need to lower their expectations that every transaction that’s approved is a good transaction. Just as rejection levels are higher here in Mexico, so are the instances of fraud. So merchants should expect that many of their approved transactions are going to come back as chargebacks.

Q: As a fraud analyst, what do you want American merchants to know about selling in Mexico?

Alejandra: I want to convey that although we’re a country with a lot of e-commerce fraud, we’re also an expanding e-commerce market with growing demand and with well-trained fraud analysts who, just like the fraudster, are always learning from experience and innovating improvements for timely and assertive fraud detection. Selling in the e-commerce market in Mexico is worth the risk.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of being a fraud analyst in Mexico?

Alejandra: I’d say the most challenging part of my job is the constant change. Fraud is very dynamic. It mutates, transmutes and transforms from one moment to the next. That means I, too, must always be evolving and transforming my way of analyzing so that I’m never behind. Through this approach, I trust that one day, we’ll be one step ahead of fraud.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of being a fraud analyst?

Alejandra: I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that thanks to my analysis, I stop fraudsters from harming clients, companies and customers. Each time I stop a fraudster in their tracks, I feel like a superheroine trapping villains. When I reject a risky order that I’m sure is fraudulent, I feel my work is worth it and that it counts.

Q: How does ClearSale protect merchants selling in Mexico?

Alejandra: Each of our analysts takes time to really get to know their customers. So whether I’m working with a large international company or a local furniture store, I focus on getting to know their business and their risk factors, and give each customer the same amount of value and my best analysis.

Interested in learning more about why companies around the world trust ClearSale to reduce fraud and false declines while increasing sales, revenue and customer satisfaction? Contact us today, and we’ll show you how our unique combination of big data analytics, statistical intelligence, human capital and innovative technologies can work for you — no matter what (or where) you’re selling.

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