London — UK online shoppers and retailers can expect an onslaught of fraudulent attacks in the coming weeks as the Black Friday retail bonanza gets underway, according to analysis from data and analytics firm, LexisNexis® Risk Solutions.
Password resets, fake account registrations and an influx of failed login attempts are among the threats shoppers and retailers should look out for as fraudsters use the global pre-Christmas spending surge as cover for malicious attacks.
Analysis from the LexisNexis® Digital Identity Network® recorded a 36% increase globally in payment transactions at the end of November 2022 as Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals drew consumers in with enticing deals.
The recorded surge was highest in North America – where the Black Friday tradition began – with a 62% increase in online ecommerce payment transactions last year, between Thanksgiving and the 31st of December, the data shows. In Europe the increase was a more modest 27% during the same period.
Analysis also reveals that the majority of fraudulent attacks during this period originate from a handful of countries including USA and Canada, Vietnam, Brazil, Germany and Mexico.
In terms of specific fraud threats, ‘password reset’ fraud attacks tripled during the festive period in 2022, according to the Digital Identity Network. These attacks target busy consumers, duping them into sharing login details before locking them out and taking control of their account, for fraud.
Online retailers will also likely see significant surges in ‘brute force attacks’ this year, where fraudsters attempt to gain unauthorised access to customer accounts by testing millions of login credentials per second. During the last festive season, these attacks accounted for 1.8% of all global transactions – equivalent to over 100 million attacks.
Fraudsters are also known to use seasonal shopping trends to attempt large volumes of payment card fraud – hiding their attacks amongst the surges in global transactions typically seen around Black Friday and beyond. Globally, this activity represented around 2% of all ecommerce transactions in the Digital Identity Network last year. The analysis also revealed that online transactions rejected as high risk or fraudulent over the festive season in 2022 were typically 80% higher in total value than legitimate transactions, suggesting that fraudsters typically load their shopping baskets with high-value goods before attempting to check out.
Rob Woods, Director of International Market Planning and Financial Services at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said, “on the one hand, this analysis from the Digital Identity Network provides a cautious lesson as we approach the festive period. Fraudsters always go for the maximum gain for minimum effort, and this is the opportune time to catch people out and hide their activities behind the massive influx of global payments activity.
“Yet, the data also provides a number of clues to help retailers protect themselves against these seasonal surges in attacks. For example, a sudden influx of failed login attempts within a short timeframe is a red flag for brute force attacks looking to compromise customer accounts. Equally a sudden surge in volume of high-frequency transactions might not be last-minute shoppers, but an automated bot attack using stolen payment cards. If retailers are monitoring for these suspicious changes in traffic and transaction behaviour, they can better protect themselves and their customers by adding friction or Multi-Factor Authentication to help determine between genuine customers and fraud.
“Consumers need to take extra care too. Don’t automatically click on a link that appears in your inbox even if it looks like it’s from a trusted source. Pause and think – look for clues it could be a scam. If you do get emails saying your password has been changed, contact the company immediately to let them know it wasn’t you, and if possible, put a temporary freeze on the card linked to that account to stop any unauthorised payments. By just staying vigilant and taking a couple of extra seconds to think, everyone can stay safe and have a happy festive holiday.”
The LexisNexis® Digital Identity Network® detects over 80 billion global transactions per year. It is a contributory network of shared intelligence designed to help businesses detect and prevent fraud and risk.
LexisNexis® Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data, sophisticated analytics platforms and technology solutions to provide insights that help businesses across multiple industries and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information, please visit. For more information, please visit LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RELX.