Fraud Attempts Expected to Increase 30 Percent During Peak Holiday Season

Merchants and consumers are gearing up for the busy holiday shopping season and according to new benchmark data from ACI Worldwide, a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, merchants can expect a 30 percent increase in omni-channel fraudulent activity compared with the same period last year. The data* based on hundreds of millions of transactions from leading merchants, provides actionable insights that merchants, banks, financial intermediaries and consumers can leverage to protect against fraudulent activity this holiday season.

Principal findings include:

  • Fraud attempt rates expected to increase 30 percent
    • Identity theft (via data breaches), account takeover (including phishing attacks) and friendly fraud (chargebacks) continue to be the biggest challenges to consumers and merchants
  • Volume of purchases increased by 14 percent (Jan. 1, 2017-Oct. 31-2017), which is higher than the overall value of purchases (12%)
    • The overall value of sales is lower because products are competitively priced and consumers are lured by promotions, coupons and free shipping offers
      • Price continues to drive consumer loyalty—there is a massive price compression underway, particularly for online shopping
  • The attempted fraud average ticket value (ATV), or a merchant’s average size of individual sales by credit card, is expected to increase from $210 to $215
    • The ATV will go up because fraudsters are targeting pricier items
  • Key trends driving 2017 fraudulent shopping activity
    • Electronics and home goods (vacuums, blenders, cookers) continue to be targeted by fraudsters
    • Fraudsters like immediacy: buy online and pick-up in store, and next-day shipment continue to be popular tactics
    • Massive data compromises led to a drastic climb in fraud over the summer
    • The 2016 trend of lower ticket prices continues in 2017, due to alternative shipping methods (e.g. buy online/pick-up in-store), low-priced electronics and promotions
      • 2017 ATV overall will be $130, down from $133 in 2016
  • Peak shopping days
    • Cyber Monday is now expected to have the highest processing volumes of any day of the year with 17 percent more purchases than Black Friday

“Fraud is increasing at an alarming rate—due to a potent combination of data comprises, identity theft, account takeover and friendly fraud,” said Erika Dietrich, global director of payments risk, ACI Worldwide. “Fraudsters continue to target electronics and home goods—and show preference for immediate purchases like buy online, pick-up in store and next-day delivery. It is imperative that both consumers and merchants protect themselves during the holiday shopping season given this new landscape of persistent and systemic fraudulent activity.”

ACI ReD Shield—a key component of ACI’s UP Payments Risk Management solution—delivers real-time, multi-tiered protection that’s tailored to the needs of eCommerce merchants, payment service providers (PSPs) and Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs). This intelligent solution is delivered as a managed service through an expert team of risk analysts, and provides instant decisions (accept/challenge/deny) on eCommerce and mCommerce transactions.

Sensible Tips for Consumers to Combat Fraud this Holiday Shopping Season:

  1. Do shop at more reputable websites. One way to ensure that personal details and payment information is safe is to check the bottom right hand corner of a website during the check-out process and look for a security icon that ensures it’s a safe transaction
  2. Lock cell phones and use sophisticated passwords when mobile shopping
  3. Use biometric authentication features on mobile device when possible (e.g. thumb print or facial recognition)
  4. Do not use the same e-mail and password combination with multiple merchants; fraudsters can use these credentials for future account takeovers
  5. For families with young children especially, set up pins for online accounts to avoid “friendly fraud” and subsequent chargebacks
  6. Do not leave boxes on front porches. During the busy holiday shopping season, fraudsters are looking to pounce as consumers are distracted
  7. Do not email or share any financial information over the phone—only enter financial information via secure online shopping sites
  8. Do track and monitor credit and debit card spending. Automated alerts for online transactions can let consumers know exactly when they—or someone else—attempts to use a card.
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