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Retail Fraud Attempts Double Year-Over-Year and Triple since 2017, According to LexisNexis Risk Solutions True Cost of Fraud Report

Successful fraud transactions grew 84% since 2018, leading to sharply increasing fraud costs


ATLANTA — Today, LexisNexis® Risk Solutions released its 10th annual True Cost of FraudTM report for the retail sector. The study, which includes both in-store and e-commerce merchants, shows that U.S. retail fraud grew significantly during the past year for businesses of all sizes, with fraudsters adding small business targets, which typically utilize less anti-fraud solutions than mid-to-large sized merchants.

Overall fraud attempts doubled year-over-year and tripled since 2017. The LexisNexis Fraud Multiplier, which measures the cost for each dollar of fraud loss, found merchants pay $3.13 per lost dollar on average, up from $2.94 last year, a 6.5 % increase.

The number of businesses allowing mobile commerce has expanded beyond traditional mid-to-large in-store retailers to include small retailers selling digital goods (such as electronic gift cards, software and mobile apps) and mid-to-large retailers and e-commerce merchants selling physical goods. This, combined with increased international transactions and more automated botnet activity, serves to create a climate where fraud thrives.

These trends make identity verification and balancing fraud detection with minimal customer friction increasingly difficult. Across retail and e-commerce mobile channels the greatest challenges include verifying customer identities, the inability to determine a transaction source and the failure to distinguish between human and malicious bots.

“There currently exists a perfect storm of increased cross-border, digital and mobile fraud and executives are under pressure to deliver prevention solutions that stem escalating fraud losses,” said Kimberly Sutherland, vice president, fraud and identity management strategy, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “To effectively fight fraud, it’s crucial that all merchants understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There’s no doubt that those using a layered solution approach involving identity authentication, transaction verification, digital identity tools and behavioral biometrics are better prepared to fight fraud.”

Key Findings from the Report

  • Less Secure Small Retailers Offer Digital Goods – While mid-to-large sized retailers and e-commerce merchants are more likely to offer digital goods, small retailers offering digital goods more than doubled year-over-year, from 11% to 26%, broadening the landscape for fraudsters. 
  • Mobile Commerce – The average monthly fraud volume rose 133% for mid-to-large sized retailers selling digital goods through the mobile channel. 
  • Synthetic Identity Fraud – E-commerce merchants who transact through a mobile browser or app believe that the rise of synthetic identities is their greatest challenge fighting fraud during digital goods sales transactions.

2019 LexisNexis® True Cost of FraudTM Study Methodology
This is the tenth annual comprehensive research study on U.S. merchant fraud. The study surveyed 700 risk and fraud decision makers at U.S. retailers from January through March 2019. Respondents represented a wide spectrum of retail merchants, including: Retailers offering e-commerce, retailers receiving a majority of their income though online or mobile channels and retailers offering mobile commerce. The overall margin of sampling error is +/-3.7 at a 95% confidence level. Data reflects the U.S. Merchant population based on weighting to U.S. Economic Census.

Download a copy of the 10th annual True Cost of FraudTM report.

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
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 LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RELX.

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