Opportunity exists at the intersection of smart decisions and good timing. Over the past two decades, I’ve seen chances taken and the improbable achieved in cybersecurity, digital identity, and fraud prevention—people solving systemic problems that improve the digital experience for everyone, making it more enjoyable and secure to transact online. It’s a space that I love, that I’ve learned well, and that I’ve chosen to stay in with previous leadership roles at Outseer, Agari, and ThreatMetrix. I’m Armen Najarian—I’m truly excited to continue my trust and safety journey as the new Chief Marketing Officer at Sift.

The motive is in the mission

There are libraries of perspectives and insights to be gained in any role. In fraud prevention and identity, I’ve found that the why becomes significantly more important than the what. It’s the mission to be served—protecting merchants and consumers from being defrauded online—that should shape how everything else gets done. 

It’s certainly what motivates me to do what I do, and many of the experiences I had in a recent CMO role played an especially important part in that. The company where I held the role operates in an adjacent space to Sift—ID deception and social engineering attacks—which brought a very human side to the work we did. We interacted directly with people who were victims of romance and email scams. One of those victims made a massive impact on how I think about fraud prevention; they’d lost their life savings, and were forced to move their family as a result. It was devastating, but we were able to get in touch with them (and eventually the perpetrators), figuring out where the attack had originated when law enforcement couldn’t. 

It’s absolutely necessary for businesses to humanize the consumers they serve, particularly when working to protect their personal data and livelihoods. Considering users beyond their transactional relationships with a merchant builds trust, and creates secure, transparent connections with those users. That empathy and respect will always improve customer satisfaction, drive loyalty, and contribute to growth.

Taking trust and safety personally

Some companies still view fraud as an inevitable cost of doing business. It’s a byproduct of the analog merchant experience—some level of shoplifting was expected at brick-and-mortar businesses, so they factored those losses into the model. But online, it’s not just about minimizing losses. Merchants have to think about more than initially engaging customers; they have to amplify and accelerate their on-site experiences, and continually improve their lifetime value. And, they have to do it without relying on excess friction to stay secure.

I believe wholeheartedly in this approach, because it’s not just about keeping bad things from happening to your business. It’s centered on creating an optimal experience for every trusted customer, and delivering value over and over again. And that takes clean, accurate, comprehensive data—something that’s not always accessible, let alone manageable.

It takes a mindset shift to understand that we’re operating in a post-’big data’ world. Everyone has lots of data, but that only matters when you know what to do with it. With the expectations and economic pressures of online commerce as they are, the only way to ingest and glean actionable insights from those massive amounts of information is with machine learning. Nothing could be more paramount when it comes to trust and safety; companies that invest in ML to fight fraud from day one will stay relevant and agile, with the power to surface and stop threats before they cause damage. Those that don’t will quickly find themselves chasing after market share and fraud simultaneously, and losing revenue in the process.

As artificial, pandemic-driven economic growth levels off for online merchants, it’s especially exciting to be joining a platform solution provider with such a solid reputation for delivering security and growth to companies that adopt it. Sift has managed to scale effectively while helping our customers do the same, and our global data consortium makes it both hyper-relevant and highly effective in solving fraud challenges across industries. I can’t wait to be a part of shaping those experiences, and in turn, helping more people trust the internet.

Learn more about Sift’s Digital Trust & Safety approach here.

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Armen Najarian

Digital Trust & Safety

fraud leadership


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