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12/22/2020
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Report: Fraudsters Bank on Targeted, High-Value Attacks During 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

While e-commerce merchants see massive sales surge, average fraudulent purchase value jumped 70% year-over-year in October and November 2020.

SAN FRANCISCO - December 17, 2020 -- Sift, the leader in Digital Trust & Safety, today released its Q4 2020 Digital Trust & Safety Index: Holiday Fraud and the Shifting State of E-commerce, which revealed that fraudsters are executing larger and more targeted attacks this holiday season. Derived from Sift’s global network of over 34,000 sites and apps, the Index found the average attempted fraudulent purchase value rose to over $700 from October through November 2020, a 70% year-over-year increase during the same period in 2019.

2020 has been a banner year for e-commerce sales, with merchants across Sift’s network enjoying Black Friday-like transaction volumes. In fact, average daily transaction volumes have been equal to 88% of the volume that occurred during Black Friday weekend 2019 – one of the largest shopping weekends of the year. In the wake of the e-commerce boom, fraudsters have changed their tactics to take advantage. Shifting away from the traditional “spray and pray” approach, which includes making dozens or hundreds of lower value transactions with stolen payment information, bad actors are making larger, albeit fewer, attacks. In particular, cybercriminals have focused on e-commerce merchants who are looking to cash in on the surge of online shopping this season, knowing that they will be more likely to get through unabated.

“The opportunity for e-commerce merchants this holiday season is greater than ever, and fraudsters have certainly taken advantage by making fraudulent transactions at higher price points,” said Jason Tan, CEO of Sift. “Cybercriminals are well aware that merchants are setting higher thresholds for blocking transactions, which is a major flaw of rules-based fraud prevention strategies. These rules-based systems not only fail to catch large amounts of fraud, but block legitimate transactions in the process. Companies need to move towards a Digital Trust & Safety strategy, which accounts for the changing behaviors of fraudsters while ensuring a seamless experience for legitimate users.” 

Additional research from Sift’s Q4 2020 Digital Trust & Safety Index found that: 

  • Every Day is Black Friday: With more demand for e-commerce during shelter-in-place restrictions, the daily average order amount between April through November 2020 was 9% higher than the average daily order value during the 2019 Black Friday weekend. 
  • Holiday shopping is alive and well: There was a 64% increase in e-commerce order volumes over Black Friday weekend (November 25-27, 2020) compared to the daily average for 2020. 
  • Food and beverage industry hit hard: Attempted fraudulent order values exploded on November 29, 2020, with the average attempted purchase surging to over 475% of October and November’s average, as fraudsters looked to hide beneath the cover of restaurants’ and delivery services’ Black Friday Weekend deals. 

The full Sift Q4 2020 Digital Trust & Safety Index can be found here.

About Sift
Sift is the leader in Digital Trust & Safety, empowering digital disruptors to Fortune 500 companies to unlock new revenue without risk. Sift dynamically prevents fraud and abuse through industry-leading technology and expertise, an unrivaled global data network of 35 billion events per month, and a commitment to long-term customer partnerships. Global brands such as Twitter, Airbnb, and Wayfair rely on Sift to gain a competitive advantage in their markets. Visit us at sift.com and follow us on Twitter @GetSift.

 

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