In the last post, we discussed how shared economy platforms have disrupted the way we access services online and how they are proving budding entrepreneurs a platform to grow their businesses globally. On the flip side, however, these platforms are also leaving millions of buyers and sellers vulnerable to fraud and online abuse. However, artificial intelligence and machine learning can prevent it.
Shared economy as a segment is growing fast with Juniper Research suggesting that it will be worth about $40.2 billion by 2022, growing from $18.6 billion in 2017. Shared economy platforms enable users—both service providers and customers—to set up their accounts easily and quickly and get started. However, in a bid to offer a seamless user experience, most platforms do not have robust verification processes that can help ascertain whether the registrant is genuine or not. This allows cyber criminals to access the platforms without any restrictions and abuse the platforms the way they want.
Making easy money
There have been numerous instances when cyber criminals have posted fake/stolen details and pictures of vacation rentals, got multiple customers to pay upfront, and then escaped with the money, leaving the customers stranded with no place to stay upon their arrival.
Crowd-funding websites have become a popular method to collect funds for a business/cause. Cyber criminals have, however, found these websites as an easy way to make money. They tweak the copied details of business ventures or the social causes and post them on alternate crowd-funding sites. Once funds are collected, they escape with the money.
Ride-hailing services are not immune from fraud either. Many ride-sharing platforms offer incentives in the form of cash or bonus to new drivers. Cyber criminals create numerous new accounts to pocket these incentives, causing losses to the ride-sharing service providers. Cyber criminals also employ social engineering to dupe drivers by posing as representatives from their ride-sharing company and asking for personal details, account passwords and even one-time-passwords (OTP) to reset their ‘locked’ accounts and then wipe out all their earnings.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning help fight fraud
In the bygone barter era, the exchange happened in-person and both the parties enjoyed a certain level of trust—that is not so in the shared economy platforms. Today, both the service providers and customers are unknown to each other, whose identities are hidden behind the internet. How then do you ascertain you are dealing with a genuine person or an impostor?
The answer lies in artificial intelligence and machine learning—technologies that are helping shared economy platforms fight fraud. Leveraging these technologies, shared economy platforms can analyze the digital intelligence emanating from the devices, networks, and identities that cybercriminals use and prevent them from exploiting the platforms.
The article has been written by Neetu Katyal, Content and Marketing Consultant
She can be reached on LinkedIn.