Flattening the curve: E-commerce is thriving and here’s what you need to consider

The practice of social distancing has already influenced our shopping patterns, as more and more consumers turn to the usage of e-commerce to fulfill their everyday needs.

A recent study by TransUnion shows digital commerce has spiked 23% since the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

As e-commerce continues to thrive, the Global E-commerce in 2020 report shows a surge in digital fraud from 2018 to 2019, specifically:

• 347% increase in account takeover
• 391% rise in shipping fraud

How does account take over and shipping fraud happen

The increase in account takeover attacks (ATO) is not surprising. The personal identifiable information found in our accounts represents the jackpot for bad actors. Our data sells like hotcakes on the dark market. Although refined tactics are needed to deploy such an attack, the most common tools include credential stuffing, social engineering, phishing and even romance scams.

Shipping fraud can follow an account takeover. The cybercriminals won’t change the shipping address until the shipment is made. Once your purchase ships, fraudsters redirect the package from the delivery service to another address.

According to a survey of 1,068 U.S. citizens, the company found that around 22% have already been targeted with specific COVID-19 related content.

“No doubt fraudsters will continue to follow the trends of good consumers and adjust their schemes accordingly,” said Greg Pierson, senior vice president of business planning and development at TransUnion.

The report also highlights the importance of mobile devices in the global e-commerce landscape of 2019, with:

• 78% of digital transactions coming from mobile devices
• 118% increase in potential fraud from mobile devices

The company noted that promotion abuse fell 42% between 2018 and 2019, and criminals are focusing on the more profitable account take over (ATO) schemes. In the latest example of promotion abuse, cybercriminals targeted Tesco loyalty program members and tried to drain the loyalty points of Clubcard holders.

How can you address digital fraud

Digital fraud will most likely continue to rise, as shoppers can no longer browse for goods in physical stores. Although worrying, this threat can be limited by following simple rules when shopping online:

• Install a security solution that helps filter spam and phishing emails
• Monitor your credit card and bank statement for suspicious activity
• Enable two-factor authentication for your e-commerce accounts
• Shop on trusted websites
• Change your password regularly and avoid recycling old passwords