Online retail fraud up nearly a third in the 2019 holiday season

Fraud stop

A new study shows a 29 percent increase in suspected online retail fraud during the start of the 2019 holiday shopping season compared to the same period in 2018, and a 60 percent increase over the same period from 2017 to 2019.

The findings from iovation, the fraud prevention arm of TransUnion, are based on the online retail transactions analyzed for its e-commerce customers between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday over the last three years.


"This data unfortunately reinforces the fraud fears that consumers expressed in our recent survey," says TransUnion senior vice president of business planning and development, Greg Pierson. "Among the conclusions from TransUnion's 2019 Holiday Retail Fraud Survey: nearly half of all consumers, 46 percent, are concerned with being victimized by fraudsters this holiday season with baby boomers being the most concerned of any generation at 54 percent."

The top days for transactions are Black Friday, with 26 percent of legitimate holiday weekend transactions and 25 percent of suspected fraudulent transactions, and Cyber Monday, with 22 percent of legitimate transactions and 21 percent suspected fraudulent.


iovation fraud graph

The highest percentage of suspected fraudulent transactions come from China with 57 percent, the Central African Republic also 57 percent, and Lebanon on 45 percent.

The report also confirms the shift towards shopping on mobile devices. 63 percent of online retail transactions during the start of the 2019 holiday shopping season came from phones and tablets. That’s up from 58 percent for the same period in 2018 and 56 percent for the same period in 2017.

It's no surprise then that mobile is also the preferred method for fraudulent online retail transactions. The report finds a mobile phone or tablet appeared to be used for 63 percent of all suspected fraudulent transactions during the long holiday shopping weekend compared to 59 percent last year.

You can find out more on the TransUnion blog.

Image Credit: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock

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