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The holiday shopping season is a prime time for cybercriminals to target consumers — particularly in the ecommerce and retail industries. According to TransUnion Africa Vice President and Head of Solutions, Hans Zachar; “Online shopping is the new norm for the majority of consumers in South Africa and that trend was further accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” In our Black Friday Secure Online Shopping Guide 2021, we provided recommendations for safe digital shopping during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Our fourth quarter research analysis also offered additional insights regarding the increase in suspected ecommerce fraud attempts; most popular days for suspected ecommerce fraud; top reasons ecommerce transactions have been flagged as suspected fraudulent; percentage of suspected ecommerce fraud attempts coming from mobile devices; and consumer concerns of being targeted by fraudsters.

The findings are based on intelligence from billions of transactions and more than 40,000 websites and apps contained in the identity proofing, risk-based authentication and fraud analytics solution suite — TransUnion TruValidateTM.

Digital Holiday Fraud Trends in 2021:

Suspected ecommerce fraud attempt rate

South Africa has seen a 4.2% increase in attempted online fraudulent activities compared to last year during the same period. About 7.8% of digital transactions in South Africa between 25–29 Nov. (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) were potentially fraudulent. Globally, 17.5% of recorded ecommerce transactions also raised suspicion during the pre-holiday shopping season.

Most popular days for suspected ecommerce fraud

In SA, most red flags for potentially fraudulent activities came in on Sunday, 28 Nov.; two days after Black Friday and just prior to Cyber Monday. Moreover, several countries worldwide recorded suspicious ecommerce activity on Saturday, 27 Nov.

Top reasons for flagged ecommerce transactions

The number of accounts per device and evidence of previous fraudulent behaviour on a specific account or device are the top two indicators of potentially fraudulent global ecommerce transactions. TransUnion TrueIdentityTM helps consumers monitor, restore and recover stolen identities, and provides credit report plus alerts and score.

Mobile schemes

There are over 5.29 billion unique mobile phone users in the world, potentially making mobile users the primary target for Internet fraudsters mounting ecommerce-related attacks. About 45.62% of suspected ecommerce fraud transactions originated from mobile devices during the start of the holiday shopping season.

Concerned consumers

A global survey indicated 88% of consumers are concerned about falling victim to online fraud during the holiday shopping season; 94% of South African consumers reported this same concern. For global and regional breakdowns regarding ecommerce fraud during this year’s holiday shopping season, download our new infographic Digital Holiday Fraud in 2021.

And to protect your credit profile and check for suspicious activity, and claim your annual free credit report today from TransUnion.