Trust and safety teams at ecommerce companies have to navigate an unpredictable holiday shopping season this year because of COVID-19. Today’s columnist, Jeff Sakasegawa of Sift, offers five tips to help teams plan for the unplannable: 2020’s holiday rush. (Creative Common CC BY-NC 2.0)

This year has taught the world a great deal. Collectively, we’ve learned that even runaway success doesn’t isolate a brand from disruption. We’ve learned that, when there’s a great enough need, companies—entire industries —can pivot on a dime and use their resources to protect people instead of profits. But the hardest lesson for many of us in the trust and safety field has been letting go of predictability.

For fraud prevention experts who rely on patterns, it’s scary not having the ability to see around the next corner. We count on automated data tracking and anecdotal experience to make educated guesses about how fraudsters will behave. But a lot of what we predict depends on consumer behavior, which also has become noticeably erratic in the wake of COVID-19.

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