The leader of OLX Philippines’ anti‑fraud team is a woman

Cover art Samantha Gonzales

Words by

Digital Reporter

Since time immemorial, men have been the so‑called “protectors.” Women were relegated as “nurturers.” It’s a belief that’s been programmed into males and females since the day they were born, inevitably shaping the types of occupation they take on when they come of age. Taxing, physical work? Give it to the men. More caring, gentle work? That goes to the women.

But in this day and age, do these gender roles still matter?

At OLX Philippines, one of the biggest players in the online marketplace industry today, the herculean task of being the protector goes to a woman.

Marian Soria, a 33‑year‑old industrial engineer, is in charge of leading the anti‑fraud team of OLX Philippines, which records 32 million visits and 7.3 million listings every month.

At time where technology is changing the ways of selling and buying, more Filipinos participate in online transactions, making her job increasingly challenging.

“OLX is very particular on trust and safety of all users. I lead a dedicated group that takes care of fraud prevention, so in the customer support group, we have like 30 people working on fraud prevention,” Soria told SparkUpin an interview.

The 33‑year‑old established her credentials working in the tech industry for already about a decade. Her previous works include leading a team of fraud prevention analysts for Card Services of JPMorgan Chase Bank & Co.

“In any company fraud prevention or trust and safety are always important. It’s good that OLX is really concentrating on that one,” she added.

Being at the helm of the team, Soria is in charge of supervising the group in analysing more than 4,000 accounts every week.

“When we study those accounts we feed our findings into the system then looks for patterns, then we feed them into a predictive model that translates into an algorithm. That’s how we detect fraud,” she explained.

Since OLX Philippines created the team, Soria said the number of fraud incidents reported through the platform dropped by 73%.

“It’s really a success that we have this team analyzing, doing predictive model that could be fraud. Before we just have a dedicated person working on anti‑fraud campaign, but we beefed up on creating a dedicated team for that, and everyone is supporting fraud prevention for our whole customer support group,” she said.

For Soria, there are three key steps to protect users in their online transactions: educating, monitoring, and post‑auditing.

“Remember we’re online classifieds, we don’t hold their money or the items, so we want to build that community where sellers and buyers know each other. We want everyone to have that win‑win transactions, and for you to have that win‑win transaction you have to know your sellers and buyers,” she said.


Women in tech

Aside from implementing measures to detect and prevent fraud and other forms of online scams through the platform, Soria, a mother of two, is also up for the challenge of proving that women have a spot in the tech industry.

“At OLX, we value diversity, so when a company values diversity it creates better decisions and it becomes more creative. It creates balance,” she said. “We don’t feel any discrimination because our values is being very open and building on each other.”

Of her closest, nuclear tea of five members, three are women.

“We have to break that mentality that tech industry is male‑dominated,” she said. “When you increase the number of women in a tech company, that’s the time that you also increase mentoring, networking, and role modelling.”

“For women, it’s a matter of finding the right company that gives value to your belief that you can break into this industry.”