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How to forecast spikes in moderation needs for scams


    Forecasting is key to managing incoming volumes, but in order to make predictions, you need to know what you are looking for. Here are some examples of occurrences that can lead to spikes in moderation needs for Classifieds sites. Note that an increase in incoming volumes doesn’t always correspond with the number of scams you receive. This post will discuss ways of predicting spikes in scam attempts.

    Seasonal spikes

    Different seasons bring different scams. In order to properly prepare your moderation team/filters for coping you need to define and understand these.

    The holiday season

    Your users and potential new users will be on gift-shopping sprees. A lot of money is being exchanged and people are often in a hurry. This makes it a very attractive time for scammers.

    Keep an eye out for:

    • Popular Electronics.
    • Presents of the year.
    • Loans that are too good to be true.

    Valentines Day

    The time around Valentines day is great for dating site scammers as singles will be looking to connect with their future Valentine. Instead they risk falling in love with a scammer looking to steal their savings.

    Keep an eye out for:

    • Fake profiles trying to target users looking for a Valentines date.

    Back to school

    Hordes of students just got admitted to their dream education and are now looking for a place to lodge. It can be near impossible to score a place to live in a bigger city making new students an easy target for scammers.

    Keep an eye out for:

    Change between seasons

    At the start of any season people will stock up on goods used in the upcoming months. A crafty scammer will know which products are in demand and target the ones that can give a quick profit.

    Keep an eye out for:

    • Winter/Summer tires (and rims).
    • High cost popular winter sports equipment.
    • Motorbikes and sailboats during spring.

    Vacation time

    Booking vacation is stressful and expensive. There is much money to be made from stressed breadwinners looking for a great deal on relaxation

    Keep an eye out for:

    Event-driven spikes

    Sporting events and concerts

    Popular events and concerts sell out fast and have a huge fan base ready to pay premium to see their idols. Scammers will try to profit from this

    Keep an eye out for:

    High-profile product releases

    Some brands are exceptional at hyping their products and enthusiasts will often go to great lengths to possess the product on or before the release date.

    Keep an eye out for:

    • Products for sale before their release date (iPhone for sale before official Apple launch for instance)
    • Counterfeits copying soon to be/newly released products

    Some spikes will of course be easier to predict than others. Seasonal spikes will happen at pretty much the same time every year, while event driven spikes will require a bit more research to predict.

    The research doesn’t have to take long though. If it takes you long to uncover a certain event, chances are that it is not high profile enough for scammers to bother with.

    Our best tip is to build this research into your moderation process as it will allow you to see patterns that can improve your overall delivery. With this in place you can prepare and avoid seeing your site overrun by scammers while you struggle to meet the SLA.