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Digital festive fraud spikes nearly 8% in the country - TransUnion

THE holiday shopping season was a popular time for bad actors to engage in fraudulent activity globally, particularly in the e-commerce and retail industry, says TransUnion. File photo.

THE holiday shopping season was a popular time for bad actors to engage in fraudulent activity globally, particularly in the e-commerce and retail industry, says TransUnion. File photo.

Published Dec 9, 2021

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SOME 17.5 percent of all global e-commerce transactions and 7.8 percent of South African transactions made between November 25 and 29 were potentially fraudulent, according to TransUnion’s findings released yesterday.

TransUnion examined global e-commerce fraud trends that occurred during the busiest period of this year’s holiday shopping season.

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Globally, this was 3.7 percent higher than the same five-day period leading up to cyber-Monday last year.

For transactions originating from South Africa, the percentage increased by 4.2 percent when comparing those same periods. The global information and insights company said that these findings were based on intelligence from billions of transactions contained in TransUnion’s fraud analytics solution suite, TruValidate.

The analysis also found the top two reasons potentially fraudulent e-commerce transactions globally were identified during this time frame were the number of accounts per device (which triggers when a device accesses a certain number of accounts during the period), as well as evidence of previous fraud on the account or device.

Vice-president and head of solutions for TransUnion Africa Hans Zachar said the holiday shopping season was a popular time for bad actors to engage in fraudulent activity globally, particularly in the e-commerce and retail industry.

“Online shopping is the new norm for the majority of consumers and that trend has been further accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consumers want to shop with online retailers that not only provide a seamless user experience, but also take consumer security and privacy seriously. It is imperative that those businesses equip themselves with the proper tools to detect fraud at the first warning sign without inhabiting the consumer journey,” Zachar said.

In addition to the above findings, TransUnion released the following fraud analysis for South Africa regarding the percentage of suspected fraudulent e-commerce transactions during the start of the holiday shopping season and the entire year from 2019 to 2021.

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It showed that it was at 7.8 percent from November 25-29, 2021; 16.6 percent so far in this year and 7.5 percent from November 26-30 last year, which was 17.8 percent in 2020 and 7.1 percent from November 28 – December 2, 2019, being 5.4 percent in 2019.

The spike of suspected digital fraud during the traditional busiest days of the holiday shopping season occurred as consumers express concern about being victimised. TransUnion’s Q3 2021 Consumer Pulse Study found that two in five (40 percent) South African consumers were aware of being targeted by a digital fraud attempt in the past three months.

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