TransUnion has identified shipping fraud as the fastest-growing type of digital fraud globally, and it blames the Covid-induced explosive growth in e-commerce. In its 2022 Global Digital Fraud Trends Report, the Chicago-based data aggregator and credit bureau said shipping fraud—defined as when a buyer spoofs a shipping address or when a seller receives payment for goods or services, but never ships to the buyer—grew 780 percent from 2020 to 2021. From 2019, the analysis estimated this type of fraud attack increased more than 1,500 percent.
“As consumers shifted from brick-and-mortar retailers to e-commerce platforms over the course of the pandemic, fraudsters gravitated toward areas where consumers were increasingly spending both time and money,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president and global head of fraud solutions at TransUnion. “Online shopping has become the ‘new normal’ on a global scale and as a result, the propensity for shipping fraud has also increased.”
Over the past two years, rates of all types of fraud have increased, according to the TransUnion report—and not just in the U.S. As consumer adoption of digital channels has continued to accelerate, the global rate for all types of suspected digital fraud attempts increased 9.4 percent YoY from 2020 to 2021 and 52.2 percent from 2019 to 2021, the report said.
Identity theft and identity mining (phishing) also more than doubled last year (increases of around 114 percent and 105 percent, respectively, in 2021). Account takeover, which has been a thorny problem for e-commerce merchants, only grew 6.4 percent last year.