As Patreon is growing as a company, I’ve recently started to grow my team. Because of that, I’ve also started attending fraud prevention conferences. Since I’m still a newbie when it comes to starting a team from scratch, I wanted to learn all the tools that will help me and my future team be successful!

My goal for attending these conferences was to network and mingle with people from all over the country who do the type of work I do. I’d learn new techniques and find out what innovative things other companies are doing, and hopefully what’s working and what isn’t.

The Q&A Paradox

It was truly inspirational to be in a room with over 1000 people who understood the struggle of fighting fraud or disputing chargebacks. I felt like I was in my element  — everyone spoke my language! I mingled, met folks from other companies, and exchanged plenty of business cards.

But when it came time to break into sessions to learn from speakers and each other, I started to notice a trend. Nobody spoke. Nobody shared. Nobody asked questions. The speakers would do their part, but when it came time for Q&A… crickets. Every single time. “How strange!” I thought. Occasionally, I’d notice someone would ask a question, but not until the session was over and only 1 on 1 with the speaker. Again, how strange.

I finally worked up the courage to ask someone from a larger – and to-be-unnamed – company what was up with the trend. They answered that they didn’t want other companies to know they had a fraud problem. I asked someone else, and similarly, they didn’t want it broadcasted that there was a problem. “But you’re at a fraud prevention conference?!?” I thought. I decided I would ask questions, because I needed to learn. Incidentally, speakers are super appreciative of questions being asked, because of course nothing is worse than crickets when you have made time for questions.

Also, I decided to write this, a sort of best practices to making the most of conferences. I’ll be using fraud conferences as the example here, but each of these learnings applies to any type of conference (management training, growing teams, customer service). It’s not fun to go to conferences hoping for awesomeness and leaving #frustrated. Nobody has time for that, so I hope this quick list helps you leave conferences satisfied and fired up!

Your Quick Guide to Making the Most out of Conferences

1. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Personally, I understand how scary the word “fraud” can be when connected to your company. But I guarantee, if you sell anything anywhere, online or brick and mortar, you have a problem with fraud. We ALL have fraud. All of us. You’re not drawing any extra attention to your company because well… we’re all in the same boat.

2. There is no secret sauce.

Your fraud prevention technique shouldn’t be kept a secret, because when the fraudsters are winning, we ALL lose. Numbers can sometimes be scary to admit, but the strongest and best fraud folks share best practices. No one should ever feel alone on the front lines.

3. Get your money’s worth.

Newsflash, conferences are actually pretty pricey. You paid money to attend this conference, take advantage and get your specific questions answered. Someone else in the room probably has the same issue or question. Or maybe you will find out from another attendee that that thing you wanted to try doesn’t work at all. That’s incredibly useful to know before you spend time and money building it. But if you don’t speak up, you’ll never know.

4. Embrace the community.

When you’re at a conference, think of it as the Circle of Trust. We’re all working late nights, losing sleep, trying to stay ahead of the fraudsters. Become a spin doctor and share your experiences or share your knowledge as a speaker! Your best practices could help solve someone else’s dilemma.

5. Fraudsters are sharing, why aren’t we?

This is the biggest factor to me. Fraudsters share. All the time. They share info, they share what companies are easiest to dupe, they share scripts and their own versions of best practices. This, is why they are so successful. How are we ever going to get ahead of fraudsters when we don’t share?

As someone who, until recently (yay, new team members!) was responsible for a whole entire company’s fraud prevention, let me say that every stat or fact or anecdote you share is invaluable to me. Sometimes I’m not sure where to even start… so you sharing, is definitely caring!


Maritza Dominguez

Maritza Dominguez is a fierce fraud fighter and a seasoned chargeback guru. For the past 7 years, she has worked in a different segments of e-commerce, developing fraud prevention strategies, identifying trends in payment failures, and creating chargeback best practices. Maritza currently works for Patreon as the only member of the Trust+Safety team: fighting fraud, disputing chargebacks, and enforcing content policies.