Artificial intelligence takes aim at online fraud


There was a time, not long ago, when consumers cast a wary eye the product quality, uncertain customer service and, most of all, the security of online transactions. Today, we shop online for everything from cars to medications to movie tickets — to the tune of $2 trillion in e-commerce sales last year alone.

And yet not a month goes by without news of a different data breach compromising a business or its customers. Data security remains a serious challenge, complicated by the sheer scale of today’s online economy. Each transaction represents a potential breach or act of fraud. Keeping credit card numbers secret is no longer enough with high-profile breaches, skimmers and even underhanded restaurant staff. Many of our credit card numbers are already for sale on the dark web.

This hits businesses hard. As consumers, we assume the banks issuing our credit cards provide protection in the event of a fraudulent charge. That’s true when the card is present for the transaction. But when use a website, PayPal or digital wallet, and other “card not present” transactions, the responsibility falls to the merchant doesn’t have banking information such as account activity, other charges or a confirmed address.


There was a time when online security was, more or less, a duel between smart guys. The bad smart guys were trying to outwit the good smart guys. Artificial intelligence and machine learning give the good guys an electronic army. As technologies advance and become more refined, we will see AI applied to more and more areas that currently require human judgment.