Online frauds on fashion e-commerce rise 47% in 2018

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

16-March-2019  |  4 mins read

Online frauds
Image Courtesy: hindustantimes.com

With the online retail growing, the frauds on the digital platform are also increasing simultaneously. Forter in its latest Fraud Attack Index publication reports fraudsters have access to more private information than ever before, and as online criminal networks expand, the access to phishing kits or ‘crime-as-a-service’ opportunities increase for new fraudsters, lowering the bar for more users to enter the ring.

The annual publication about trends in online fraud attacks across different industries also shows, apparel and accessories web shops must be vigilant, as the category is preferred by fraudsters due to the ease with which items can be resold and the fact that attempts to buy in bulk don’t look so suspicious. The attacks on online fashion shops grew by 47 per cent in 2018. Criminals are getting smarter, and expecting e-commerce companies to stay up to date about their techniques.

“One of the challenges that has developed in this industry over the past year is how to combat BOTs, automated scripts, which can run specific actions over and over again with great speed,” notes the report, clarifying that BOTs are mostly employed to focus new releases of limited-edition items. Those items are resold later in second-hand marketplaces for much higher prices.

Apart from apparel and accessories, jewellery and luxury goods are also an attractive bet for fraudsters as thefts are more lucrative than those in other sectors. According to Forter, the category has seen a 19 per cent increase in online attacks year-on-year.

Here are few popular methods of attack that Forter discusses in its annual publication.

  • Account takeover increased 45 per cent in 2018. The report says this method has been rising because stealing a user’s account offers more possibilities than typical transactional fraud.
  • Fraud rings went up 25 per cent last year and Forter predicts it to grow even more in 2019 because fraudsters understand they can do more damage when working together. Coordinated action leverages the individual skills of the members of the group, allowing them to scale up their attacks and strike at a higher frequency.
  • Offering coupons or discounts to those that refer a friend, policy abuse jumped 170 per cent in 2018. The most common way to take advantage of such programmes is by oversharing coupons or creating multiple accounts. According to Forter, online merchants tend to overlook this type of fraud because transactional frauds generate greater losses, but the staggering growth of this fraud method demonstrates it is a mistake not to adopt measures to prevent abuse.
  • Another way consumers and fraudsters can cheat the system is by abusing a store’s return policy. A recent survey commissioned by UK credit card company Barclaycard revealed nearly one in 10 shoppers admit to buying clothes only to take a photo on social media. Major fashion retailers are already aware of this trend, which is why they have amended their policies to restrict the number of returns per customer, leading to a 90 per cent decrease in returns abuse, as per the report.

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