Building Trust in the Digital Age

In the digital landscape, trust is the cornerstone of successful online transactions. Justin Lie, the Founder & CEO of SHIELD, stands at the forefront of this field, bringing over 20 years of experience in risk intelligence and cybersecurity to the table.

His journey from running a cross-border e-commerce business to leading a global organization is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and innovative approach to tackling online fraud.

Justin's entrepreneurial journey began at a young age, starting his first e-commerce business at 16. However, it was not without its challenges. "I became frustrated when I started receiving fraudulent orders that would result in significant losses from chargebacks," Justin recalls. Determined to find a solution, he delved into researching methods to fight fraud and taught himself to write risk algorithms. “I created a system which allowed me to easily evaluate all orders and stop potentially fraudulent ones.”

This experience ignited his passion for combating online fraud, leading him to create a system to evaluate and prevent potentially fraudulent orders. This system eventually became the foundation for SHIELD.

With e-commerce still in its infancy in Asia at the time, Justin saw an opportunity to bring his expertise to where it would have the greatest impact. Thus, SHIELD was born, with a mission to eliminate unfairness and enable trust in the digital world.

“Today, SHIELD is a device-first, risk AI platform that helps global unicorns like inDrive, Alibaba, Swiggy, Meesho, and True Money to eliminate fake accounts and stop all fraudulent activity. Our mission is to eliminate unfairness to enable trust for the world.”

Over the years, growing his company hasn't been easy, and Justin has encountered his fair share of challenges. Despite this, he has tackled these obstacles head-on, focusing on innovation and inclusivity to transform SHIELD into a global organization.

“One challenge has been getting people to step out of their comfort zones, which is something I focused on at our recent global company retreat celebrating our 15th anniversary,” he says. “We even organized an ice bath challenge, and over half of all SHIELD agents braved the cold for more than 12 minutes! Similarly, I am very proud of the diversity in SHIELD. We collectively speak over 30 languages, and we have 50:50 gender equality at both the management and company-wide level. We encourage our people to put in the effort to understand other cultures, different ways of working, and perspectives - all while still feeling free to be themselves. This inclusivity is vital as we continue to align and expand our global team.”

Looking to the future, Justin sees the role of risk intelligence evolving in response to the increasing digital transactions and cyber threats. "Fraud tactics are constantly evolving and becoming more complex," Justin notes. “Especially since fraud syndicates now have easy access to the use of AI. It’s no longer sufficient to take a reactive approach and address fraud after it has happened. Fraudsters are conducting fraud attacks at scale with fake accounts, which requires minimal cost while inflicting maximum damage. A single physical device can be used to create and control thousands of fake accounts.”

To address this, SHIELD has developed innovative solutions, such as the SHIELD Device ID, to identify and eliminate fake accounts at the root by identifying the physical devices behind the fake accounts.

“SHIELD Risk Intelligence returns real-time actionable risk signals, enabling our clients to identify when genuine-seeming users turn bad,” Justin asserts.

“All in all, we’re helping to eliminate all unfairness that fraudsters create - stopping account takeovers and promo abuse; helping ensure fairer ride prices on ride-hailing platforms; safeguarding users from dishonest sellers on marketplaces; and creating level playing fields for gamers. In doing so, SHIELD is helping to create the world's most trusted ecosystems. At the same time, we’ve come to realize that we can be a platform that unites different organizations, even competitors, to work together for the greater good. That’s why we’re hosting the SHIELD Trust Summit with Money20/20 Asia next month. We’re helping industry leaders to come together to connect and converse, overcoming any differences as we collectively eliminate fraud and unfairness.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the cybersecurity and fraud prevention industry, Justin offers valuable advice.

"It’s extremely important to push yourself to step outside of your comfort zone," he advises. “As we can see from AI becoming commonplace, professionals need to keep learning and adapting, as well as embracing new technologies because they will be the keys to unlocking personal growth and company success. I believe that the era of specialization is coming to an end, and it’s essential to be versatile and be able to contribute to a wider range of projects, as focusing on one specialization would place your job at risk of being replaced by AI and automation.”

As businesses navigate the complexities of the digital landscape, fostering trust is crucial. It's not just about preventing fraud but also about creating a level playing field for all users.

Photos: Money20/20

April 2, 2024