E-commerce Fraud Is On the Rise, Experian Report Finds

E-commerce fraud has risen since last year, with fraudsters adapting their methods in the face of new technology designed to thwart their thievery, credit bureau Experian reports.

According to Experian, fraudsters continue to migrate their activities online as more merchants switch to EMV terminals and consumers receive chip-and-pin credit cards.

Experian analyzed this trend in a new report, the 2016 E-commerce Fraud Attack Rates rankings, that analyzes millions of e-commerce transactions and ranked the top states, cities and ZIP codes for shipping and billing fraud across the United States.

The data represents the attempted fraudulent e-commerce transactions against the population of overall e-commerce orders ranked by the fraud attack rate.

Delaware, Oregon, and Florida were the top-ranked states for billing and shipping e-commerce fraud in 2016.

Both Oregon and Delaware saw an increase in e-commerce billing fraud attacks of over 200 percent. Three states, Florida, California and New York, accounted for more than 70 percent of total e-commerce billing fraud attacks.

Chip Cards Drive Fraudsters Online

“One of the major drivers for the increase in fraud attacks is the continued adoption of EMV terminals for chip-and-pin credit cards. While these cards reduced counterfeit credit card fraud at the point-of-sale, they have driven fraudsters online. This pattern is similar to what other EMV markets saw when transitioning to chip-and-pin cards,” said Adam Fingersh, Experian general manager and senior vice president of Fraud and Identity Solutions.

“As more compromised data becomes available from breaches, it’s easier for fraudsters to get their hands on identity data requiring consumers and businesses to stay diligent in protecting themselves.”

According to Experian’s rankings of e-commerce fraud attack rates for 2016 the data shows:

  • South El Monte, CA was the top ranked city for both shipping and billing fraud in 2016. The billing fraud attack rate was nearly double that of the second-ranked city, Port Reading, NJ.
  • Miami, FL, was home to the most ranked ZIP codes for e-commerce fraud accounting for 17 of the top 100 for shipping fraud and 20 of the top 100 for billing fraud.
  • 10 states saw an increase of over 100 percent in shipping fraudulent orders — Alaska, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, North Dakota, Maine, Montana, Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Thieves will always adapt to changing threats, so you must do the same:

  • Use a credit monitoring service so you can get alerts immediately when someone uses your data to open a fraudulent credit account. (Experian wants you to use their services, but there are others to choose from).
  • Change your passwords often, and use effective passwords (no pet names or “1234”, etc). This is one of the simplest things you can do to protect yourself.
  • Never follow links from an email. If you receive an alert from your credit union, bank or credit card issuer, don’t follow links or sign-in prompts in the email. Instead, contact the organization separately using the account information you have.
  • Double check your banking and credit card statements for any unusual activity.

Those are just four tips to get you started. The big one is: be careful, there are a lot of bad people out there.

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