2017 Holiday Shopping Came With a Big Jump in Fraud

January 18, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

While most of us have put the holiday shopping season of 2017 behind us, a new report has emerged about just what the 2017 holiday shopping season meant in terms of online fraud. A new report from ACI Worldwide noted just how much of the holiday shopping season meant fraud, and it’s more than you might think.

The ACI Worldwide study found that fraud attempts in the period between Thanksgiving Day and December 31 were up 22 percent over the same time last year. The number of overall transactions, meanwhile, was only up 19 percent. There was actually a greater increase in fraud than there was actual shopping.

Fraud attempts also seemed to spike unexpectedly on certain days; Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and the commonly-acknowledged cut-off date for express shipments December 21 saw some of the biggest counts of fraud attempts.

The progression is actually increasing toward fraud: in 2015, one in every 109 transactions was a fraud attempt, while in 2016, that number went to one in 97. In 2017, it was one in 85, suggesting that, if the rate holds true for 2018, we’ll see one in every 73 transactions being a fraud attempt.

ACI Worldwide director of risk management Erika Dietrich noted “Over the 2017 holiday shopping season, merchants experienced significant growth in their digital channels, coupled with a substantial increase in fraud. The consistent, alarming uptick in fraudulent activity on key dates is a signal that merchants must be proactive in their efforts to identify weak points across the omni-channel payment process—and define the short- and long-term strategies necessary to improve security and enhance customer experience.”

Basically, fraud is on the rise, and has been for several years. This should prompt everyone out there—whether retailer or consumer—to better monitor their own internal operations to protect against fraud. Take the necessary steps; protect your passwords, strengthen them—even if it calls for writing them down on paper elsewhere—and potentially consider regular rotation of same.

Mobile payments systems have come a long way in terms of security, but with fraud only on the rise, we have all the more reason to be careful. Keep that in mind, whether you’re shopping for the holidays or just trying to pick up that random item.