Retailers Beware: 50 Million Fraud Attacks Expected Next Week

Experts are predicting an astonishing 50 million global fraud attempts next week as scammers look to capitalize on a busy shopping period to slip past fraud filters.

The week beginning November 20 features Thanksgiving in the US, followed by Black Friday and then Cyber Monday — a weekend of sales which in the UK will help to generate a £7bn bonanza for retailers.

However, the fraudsters are more than ready, having harvested identity data that has flooded the dark web over recent months from major high-profile breaches, according to ThreatrMetrix.

Typically they use automated bots to test credentials first before the breaches are publicly disclosed, according to the fraud prevention vendor’s VP, Vanita Pandey.

Over the next week there’ll be an estimated 5-8 million daily identity testing attacks, she added.

The ones that still work will then be utilized to launch large scale fraud attempts, with new account registrations twice as likely to be fraudulent than payments.

In just the past 90 days, the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network detected 171 million attacks, a 32% spike since the beginning of 2017.

Fraudsters typically use busy shopping periods like the coming week to hide their activity from e-commerce filters.

“Many e-commerce merchants choose to accept a greater degree of risk on these key days in order to accept more transactions and reduce the chance that good customers experience friction when placing orders,” Pandey explained to Infosecurity.

“Secondly, fraudsters see peak shopping days as the opportunity to make larger purchases/attempt to redeem bigger basket sizes, which are less likely to be flagged as suspicious in among the sea of other high value purchases being made by good customers.”

UK and European retailers in particular have been told to be extra wary of such activity, because online transactions are 63% more likely to be fraudulent here than in North America.

“Our sense is that Europe is becoming a kind of hotbed for cybercrime activity, perhaps because of many contributing factors,” said Pandey. “The diversity among countries in Europe goes beyond language and culture and extends to the varying socio-economic demographics, that has resulted in many pockets of cybercrime in the less prosperous regions.”

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