Retailers faced an existential threat in 2020 as stay-at-home orders in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic essentially shut down face-to-face retail through much of the year. Retailers responded by beefing up their e-commerce offerings, but many were unfamiliar with the threats posed to online businesses due to fraud. Payment fraud, account takeover and return abuse were some of the threats merchants faced at an elevated rate last year.
While many of the risks were higher last year, though, the pandemic did carry some good news for retail fraud teams, according to a recent study. More than three quarters of respondents to a survey conducted by antifraud technology provider Ravelin reported an improvement in the perception of the fraud team among the wider business.
While fraud rose, the report said, online sales rose much faster, benefitting retail fraud teams overall. In fact, a slim majority (51 percent) said the pandemic had a positive or very positive effect on their business fraud operations. U.K. merchants had a slightly more positive outlook than their American counterparts.
The report also found retail fraud teams are, on average, bigger than those serving other industries (especially those that sell electronics), and that 72 percent of respondents expect investment in the fraud team to grow in 2021.