3 Tips to Safely Manage the Holiday Season Scam Spike

In December and the months leading up to it, the percentage of scam content on classifieds sites rises significantly. This means that your customers are more likely to have a negative user experience when doing their holiday shopping on your site.

Combine this with the fact that Christmas shopping often brings in new users looking for the perfect present and you have just upped your chance of converting a browser to a user dramatically.

But with a bit of planning and some insights into what scammers are targeting you can avoid the worst impact of the increase in fraudulent ads.

Here are three tips that can help you keep your content under control during the holiday season.

How to Handle Scams During the Holidays

 1. Know Your Seasonal Content

What people search for throughout the year changes based on seasons, high profile product releases and global events. For scammers it makes a lot of sense to target items that are highly sought after. This gives them a faster turnaround on potential victims before they are removed from the site.

Usually during Christmas you will find a rise of scams in ads for popular electronics, gift of the year items and winter sports equipment in countries where such a pastime is available.

So the bad news is that you have more scam on your site during the holiday season. The good news is that if you know where to look, it is quite easy to spot and remove, which leads us to the second tip.

a cart full of christmas presents

2. Target Your Efforts Strategically

Chances are you will see a rise, not just in scams, but in volumes in general during this period. You have probably planned for this spike in volumes, either by hiring more moderators or by turning your percentage of automated moderation up.

There is nothing wrong with either of those approaches, but make sure you target your efforts strategically.

If you don’t have resources to moderate all volumes, focus on high risk categories such as electronics, pets, rentals and toys.

Also if you haven’t already, it might be time to look into automated content moderation with a good moderation tool you should be able to automate 80% or more of your content.

Finally, if you are hiring new or temporary staff to cover spikes, you should keep them away from categories with a high percentage of scam ads. Leave that to your veterans. If you do let the new guys lose on high risk categories, make sure that you give them very clear and easy instructions on what to look for.

3. Train Your Staff and Update Your Automation Rules

And that leads us neatly to the last tip on managing rising scam volumes during the holiday season. The best way you can ensure your users are safe is by making sure that the rise in attempts to publish fraudulent ads on your site, does not result in more fraudulent ads going live.

To ensure this, your moderation team and your automation rules need to be equipped with very clear rules on what to look out for.

Achieving this requires research, training and updated automation rules. How you find out what the hot products of the season will be, depends on the target market of your site. A tip is to start looking at Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales on the big e-commerce sites serving your market.

Once you have a good picture of products to look out for, make sure your moderators and your automation rules are updated accordingly. Last but not least, don’t forget to continuously update your training and rules as you learn where the most scam attempts are during this particular season.

With a targeted effort and armed with knowledge you can bring your users safely through another year of gift shopping and hopefully convert a few new ones on the way.

To help you prepare for such spikes, we recommend you check out our scam awareness calendar.

Happy Holidays!

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