Holiday E-Commerce Sales Surge (But Not on Cyber Monday), Fraudsters Looking for Bigger Scores

Holiday E-Commerce Sales Surge (But Not on Cyber Monday), Fraudsters Looking for Bigger Scores

December 2, 2021

In a signal that worries over supply chain issues have had an impact on consumer holiday shopping patterns, e-commerce sales for the holiday season overall will rise sharply, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw slight dips in online shopping. Fraud is following the overall numbers and saw increases this year even after record-breaking numbers in 2020.

On both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Adobe Digital Economy Index found consumer spending on e-commerce transactions was slightly down (1.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively). But overall online spending for the month sits at $109.8 billion—nearly 12 percent higher than last year, which was a record-setting year due to Covid.

So, while the normal peaks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday have flattened a bit, fraud of all kinds is still surging in the face of an overall increase in sales, according to antifraud technology provider Sift.

One notable trend Sift found in its analysis is that fraudsters are trying to make bigger scores. Across the company’s network, it found the average value of attempted fraudulent transactions more than doubled from $578 last year to nearly $1,200 this year.

“The trend of increased online shopping, while a necessity amidst pandemic restrictions, also appeals to fraudsters ready to leverage stolen credit cards and customer accounts,” said Brittany Allen, trust and safety architect at Sift. “And not only are attempted fraud purchase values increasing, but with BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) options, fraudsters can leverage cards with lower credit balances to successfully make these high-value purchases.”

Fraud leveraging BNPL surged 66 percent from last year, Sift said, while attacks via digital wallets soared 328 percent.

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