Account Takeovers See Triple Digit Increase in 2019, Says TransUnion

Account Takeovers See Triple Digit Increase in 2019, Says TransUnion

April 2, 2020

While 2020 has upended business globally, numbers describing 2019 performance are becoming available. TransUnion’s latest Global E-commerce in 2020 report finds a 347 percent increase in account takeover and a 391 percent rise in shipping fraud attempts globally against its online retail customers from 2018 to 2019.

Fraudsters commit account takeover typically by buying login details on the dark web, or through credential stuffing, hacking, phishing, romance scams and social engineering, said TransUnion in a statement on the research. Shipping fraud occurs when a criminal intercepts a package at a delivery site or has a package redirected to another site after the item is purchased. 

The research also noted other fraud patterns emerging in the last year, including:

  • 42% decrease in promotion abuse from 2018 to 2019. Cybercriminals access accounts to drain loyalty points or create multiple new accounts to use the same promotion over and over, often against website and app terms. TransUnion believes this decrease can be attributed to fraudsters turning to more lucrative schemes such as account takeover.
  • 78% of all e-commerce transactions came from mobile devices in 2019. That’s a 33% increase from 2018. E-commerce companies are scrambling to ensure a mobile-first experience for consumers not just to browse but to buy.
  • 118% increase in risky transactions from mobile devices in 2019. Fraudsters have taken notice that more e-commerce transactions are coming from mobile devices and are trying to replicate that consumer behavior in order to avoid detection.

“With so many reported data breaches, it’s not just about if your account will be hijacked, it’s about when,” said Melissa Gaddis, senior director of customer success for TransUnion Fraud & Identity Solutions. “Once a fraudster breaks into an account, they have access to everything imaginable resulting in stolen credit card numbers and reward points, fraudulent purchases, and redirecting shipments to other addresses.”

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Joan Goodchild

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